Special Postal Delivery Arrangements made for Scotland's Census in Areas Affected by Foot and Mouth Disease
21st March 2001
Special arrangements for the postal delivery of Census forms in rural areas affected by Foot and Mouth disease were announced today by Registrar General for Scotland, John Randall. The plans have been drawn up following consultation with the National Farmers Union of Scotland, the Scottish Landowners Federation, and the Scottish Crofters Union.
John Randall, Registrar General for Scotland, said:
"I am very conscious of the problems the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease is causing in rural areas. To allay fears that Census Enumerators might contribute to the spread of the disease, I have made arrangements for the delivery and return of Census forms aimed at minimising the risk, yet still enabling all householders to participate in the Census. These new instructions will become part of the training programme of all Scotland's 8000 field staff, and especially the 7000 Enumerators, when they report for duty from 26 March. I am glad to have the support of the National Farmers Union of Scotland, the Scottish Landowners Federation, and the Scottish Crofters Union at this difficult time."
For the National Farmers Union of Scotland, President Jim Walker, said:
"The National Farmers Union of Scotland have heard the detailed plans drawn up by the Registrar General for the Census staff to cope with the problems. The plans have our full support, and I would urge all our members to co-operate fully. An accurate Census is important to us. We need the results so that we have reliable figures of how big the agricultural industry is, and how it is changing."
Scottish Landowners Federation Convener Robert Balfour, said:
"I am pleased that the Registrar General has recognised the fears of many people in the countryside about intrusion by Census staff. I welcome the development of such a comprehensive strategy to eliminate the risk of Enumerators spreading the disease, yet still allow residents to receive and return these vitally important documents."
President of the Scottish Crofters Union, Donnie Maclennan, commented:
"It is essential that all crofters are counted in the Census on 29 April so that the statistics which result will accurately reflect crofting interests in Scotland. The scheme for delivery and return of Census forms will take care of worries about spreading the Foot and Mouth disease virus and I commend it to our members."
The principal elements of the scheme are:
- Census forms will be posted out to households where normal hand delivery by Enumerators is not possible because the area is infected or where access is limited.
- In infected areas Enumerators will not deliver forms to any livestock-holding premises, or to any rural premises where the approach would involve driving off a metalled road. Enumerators will cover villages accessible by public roads.
- Enumerators will observe scrupulously any signs restricting access, and will comply at all times with any local disinfecting arrangements in place at the time.
- All addresses which cannot be reached personally by Enumerators will receive by post on or around 24 April an envelope containing a letter explaining what the householder must do, a copy of the Household Form, an Information Leaflet, and a postback envelope.
- The covering letter will explain that a prompt response will eliminate the need for anyone to visit the premises, and that if the particular circumstances require it additional or different forms can be obtained by phoning the Census Helpline. Any further forms required will be posted out.
- Households affected by the Foot and Mouth disease restrictions can post back their completed forms in the same way and same timescale as for all other households, but if a reminder is required this will be by postcard instead of a personal visit.
Notes To Editors:
The Census field force numbers nearly 8000 people covering every part of Scotland. Regardless of their Enumeration District, and whether or not it is rural or urban, all will receive training emphasising the new system for dealing with enumeration in areas affected by Foot and Mouth disease so that they can deal with any restrictions imposed, either officially or by landowners wishing to keep access to the absolute minimum. Enumerators will be local people who can be expected to be well aware of local sensibilities.
Census forms are normally hand delivered so that Enumerators can assist householders in ensuring that they have the appropriate forms for their household circumstances - for example where an address has more than one household or where a household has more than 5 people additional forms are required. Conducting the Census entirely by post make this more difficult.
Census Enumerators will not begin delivery of the Household form to homes in Scotland until Monday, 9 April. After Census Day on 29 April, householders are required to post back their completed forms in the reply-paid envelopes provided.