Guernsey launches e-census system

The States of Guernsey has launched an electronic census system to allow the publication of updated population data every year.

It has launched the new system to replace its previous paper based census, which collected information about islanders every five or 10 years.

The new tool processes data provided by various departments to give information on parish populations, school catchment areas and voting districts.

Director of software development at software provider Digimap, John Surcombe, said: “The system has many potential uses. Demographic information is increasingly important to modern governments and this system makes this information easier to access.

“Importantly it also does not burden the individual. There are no forms to fill in or extra information to provide. It works based on information that people already give to government.”

He said Guernsey was the first public sector organisation in Europe to launch an e-census.

The inaugural Annual Electronic Census Report was produced on 31 March, condensing data from ten separate databases held by seven departments.

It found that at the end of March 2014, Guernsey’s population on was 62,711, a decrease of 0.1% compared to the previous year.

States of Guernsey said that all information is held securely on the system in electronic copy only, with only census officers allowed access to the ICT system.

It said: “The benefits of this are that there would be an audit trail of access to the information if needed and additionally census officers have less contact with personal details than they would if handling traditional census forms, since the data is anonymised by the IT system before being made available for analysis. The data can be used for statistical purposes only.”

It added that the project cost around half the cost of one traditional census, with running costs totalling a similar sum every five years.

Information will be published in a set of annual and quarterly reports.

Colin Marrs

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