Still no sexual orientation question on the census.

Publish Date: 17/12/2008

Civil PartnershipsAfter years of campaigning for the inclusion of a sexual orientation question to be included on the national census, the announcement that the Office of National Statistics will not be including the question on the next census, comes as a bitter blow for many LGBT organisations and gay lobby groups.

However, the next national census which will be held on March 27 2011, will include a civil partnership option on the marital status question.

The national census information is collected every ten years, and is used by government to advise central and local policy making by showing exactly where investment in public services is most needed. It is used to help allocate £100 billion of public funds each year.

Last week the Office of National Statistics announced that from January 2009, they would be including a sexual identity question on their Intergrated Household Surveys, and urged other organisations to include the question on any surveys they commissioned.

Having the sexual orientation question on the housing surveys will help inform local authorities as to how many LGBT people are living in the area, which will help them recognise the need for specific services and support in that area.

However, the ommission of the sexual identity question on the national census, means that their is still no accurate way of gauging the LGBT population in the UK.

With the introduction of the new Equalities Bill, which extends the existing duty on public bodies to consider how their spending decisions, employment practices, and service delivery can affect people according to their race, disability, or gender, to include sexual orientation, gender reassignment, age, and religion or belief.

Public bodies need reliable statistics on all aspects of the population, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people, to ensure that they are carrying out their services properly, engaging with these communities and providing the correct services for them.

According to official government figures, lesbian, gay and bisexual people make up 6% of the adult population. The proposals for the 2011 census will now be passed through parliament.