You may have been deceived that all members of the Public Administration Committee are against reform of our ramshackle 10 year Census. The PASC Chair uses the Ceaucescu manual of chairmanship and denies any mention of dissent in the press release. It's a story of the committee not doing its job of challenging conventional un-wisdom. Conservative inertia of the statistics establishment distorts judgement of census reform for 2021 as it dominated consideration of the 2011 by the same committee a decade ago.
Major national decisions are routinely based on minute samples as low as 0.0001%. The cost of the next census will be £1billion. Of all the thousand of reports made by the ONS, only the ten year census is a based on a 100% sample. This is wasteful and irrational. The results do not justify the cost, for less than 100% participation Frequently a distorted impression is provided even when the results are fresh. The reliable results bleed their value in ten years between censuses.
Does anyone believe that the country has 300,000 Jedi Knights? That's what the census reported. The evidence from the statistics establishment sought the comfort blanket of the status quo. One claimed that the manager of a supermarket would use census information to order next week's cabbages rather than information on how many cabbages are sold this week. Much of the evidence was sentimentally loyal to the tradition of an annual census.
Little assessment has been made of an alternative rolling census that could be based on a small sample but updated from existing sources on a monthly or annual basis. These results could be incorporated into now routine publication of statistics. These reports would avoid the attempted manipulations of the census by groups such as the Jedi Knights of weaknesses from other groups who shun the process.
A Rolling Census would provide a regular flow of information and work for the statisticians. Now it's a 10 year spike of work, then nothing.
Sadly, inertia rules. £1billion will be spent wastefully in 2021 because of a lamentable lack of vision.