The Treasury has published a report on the problems faced by Local Government due to inaccurate population estimates and in particular the impact of highly mobile populations
The comments on addressing are particularly telling
Professor David Martin noted that “One of the single most important underpinning strategies for increasing response rates is to have an address list of the highest possible quality. The 2007 test showed that the best results were achieved by hand delivery of census forms and this approach must be retained for the hardest to count areas.
Professor Martin commented that the current competition between the National Land & Property Gazetteer and Ordnance Survey address products was a major threat to the census operation. He noted that each system had different strengths and weaknesses and there was no strategy for integration. ONS has proposed a comprehensive national address check in the run-up to the census; “yet this entire expensive process would be unnecessary if a single definitive national address list were maintained, in which case much of the address-checking resource could be devoted to other aspects of census data collection and production”
The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury accepted that it was “pretty frustrating” that the Government had failed to make progress in this area. We note that the Government has failed to make any progress in establishing an address register for the 2011 Census. We heard repeated references to the necessity of establishing the register yet were surprised to hear that no business case had been published. We recommend that such a case is prepared engaging all potential beneficiaries. It is unclear whether leadership weakness, lack of legislative means or the financial obligations of the trading fund status have contributed most to the failure. We recommend that the Government consult the Statistics Authority and others to remove any outstanding obstacles to the production of an address register.
And I think many of us would say to that “Hear hear”