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Care home briefing 94 – Census 2011: How does it affect care homes?

Another decade has passed and it is once again time to fill in the Census questionnaire. The 2011 Census is due to be completed on or soon after Sunday 27 March 2011, and will require the details of those staying at a residence overnight on that day, to be recorded. Whilst it is simple enough a concept for private households, what does this mean to those resident in Care Homes and indeed what are the requirements on those managing such establishments?

Care Home Managers

Managers of a Care Home need be aware of the following,

  • Each Care Home will receive a pack containing individual questionnaires for each resident there. Also included is a “communal establishment questionnaire”, which is for the manager to fill in for the Home and contains a count of those, staying overnight on March 27 2011.
  • Each resident will need to fill in a questionnaire, and hand it back to the manager in a privacy envelope. There is a listing form to help track the distribution and collection of the questionnaires.
  • Where there is difficulty in a resident completing a form, it is suggested that a close friend or family member be asked to assist.
  • For any resident that is able to, the individual questionnaires can be filled in online at Residents will still need to consult the paper copy however, as an Internet code is contained thereon, which will need to be entered online.

The communal establishment questionnaire cannot however, be filled in this way.

  • Where staff assist a resident to fill in a form, or complete it for them, they should read back the answers to the resident and if possible, get them to sign or make their mark in the declaration box on the front of the questionnaire (where a hard copy has been used) to confirm that it has been filled in accurately. If this is not possible, they may sign on the resident’s behalf.
  • Care Home managers have a legal duty to complete the communal establishment questionnaire, to hand out and gather back individual questionnaires, and to make sure that individual questionnaires are completed on behalf of any resident that cannot do it for themselves.
  • Any forms that are spoilt or uncompleted should be returned as they will need to be accounted for. If any are lost or mistaken, replacements can be requested from the census representative. This information should be listed on the documentation enclosing the forms, but if in doubt, managers can consult the above website.
  • For residents that are hard of hearing or of sight, or indeed have any other disabilities, there are additional formats available. These can be found/ordered at the above website address.
  • Residents at a Care Home for a period of 6 months, or who anticipate a stay of 6 months are to be recorded as residents.

For a period of less than 6 months, they should be recorded as visitors for the purpose of the Census. The exception to this is where the resident has no other address. In this event, the Care Home is considered to be their address.

  • Where the resident is from outside of the UK, and has been resident or expects to be resident for 3 months or more, the Care Home is considered to be their residence. Where less than 3 months, they are considered to be a visitor.

Care Home Staff

Those working in a Care Home need only fill in a questionnaire where they are permanently resident in accommodation specifically designated as “staff accommodation.” Otherwise they should fill in a questionnaire for their own residence, and if they are staying at the Home overnight on March 27 2011, should be recorded as a “visitor.”

For those living in a totally separate building, such as in the example of a caretaker living in a house in the grounds of a Care Home, they are to be counted as residents of a private household.

It should be noted that a failure to complete and return the Census is a criminal offence and can result in a fine of £1,000. As such, all managers should ensure that they are aware of their obligations in advance so that as full and as accurate a record as possible can be taken and so that all arrangements can be made for each and every resident to take part.


This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.