Public Services > Devolved

CACI lands data services contracts for Scotland’s Census 2021

David Bicknell Published 06 February 2018

Company will provide online data collection and operational management systems for the ‘digital-first’ Census, having also worked on 2011 count


Information systems and marketing solutions provider CACI has picked up two contracts awarded by National Records of Scotland (NRS) to deliver services for Scotland’s Census 2021.

CACI will provide the online data collection system and an operational management system for the ‘digital first’ Census where the process for undertaking Census data collection will move from being primarily paper based to mainly online.

In the 2021 Census, for the first time, the majority of people are expected to choose to fill in the census form online. NRS, which is responsible for operating the census in Scotland, picked CACI to provide the online data collection system and to support NRS in the channel shift from paper to online.

The task of running a modern mainly online census is expected to be ‘complex.’ NRS will require up-to-date information about which households have completed a return and which haven’t. That will enable it to manage Census fieldworkers across Scotland, prioritising which households to visit to maximise response rates. The visits will include issuing reminders or providing information about routes of assistance to help people complete the questionnaire. The operational management system will also keep track of how the census questionnaires are being completed and provide timely information to all concerned.  

Greg Bradford, CACI’s chief executive, said, “After working on Scotland’s Census 2011 successfully, we’re excited to be working with the NRS again to deliver crucial services for Scotland’s Census 2021. It’s a milestone moment: consumer attitudes to online channels are completely different than a decade ago and a predominately online census is now a reality. We intend to support the team at NRS with robust, high quality and secure data collection system – we’re delighted to have been selected again.”

Tim Ellis, NRS chief executive added, “One of NRS’ key priorities is to protect the confidentiality of everyone who takes part in Scotland’s Census 2021. CACI demonstrated their experience and capability in handling large volumes of sensitive data, proposing a high quality solution that delivers value for public money. Security is our top priority: by partnering with CACI we can reassure people across Scotland that the census data they submit will be kept private and secure. We’re looking forward to working with CACI’s experts to prepare for 2021.”

(Census image courtesy of National Records of Scotland and DataShine Scotland, a visualisation tool from University College London (UCL))

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