Data capture for the 2011 Census will be managed from a 180,000 sq ft facility in Trafford Park, the Office for National Statistics confirmed today.
The next census takes place on 27 March 2011 and the forms generated will be scanned by UK Data Capture on behalf of ONS from the secure facility in Trafford Park, Greater Manchester. Rehearsals with around 135,000 selected households will be run in Lancaster, the London Borough of Newham and Ynys Môn (Isle of Anglesey) on 11 October 2009.
Stephen Meyler, director of UK Data Capture, said: "The Manchester processing centre will be critical to the successful delivery of the 2011 Census. This is an exciting project for UK Data Capture and we are looking forward to fulfilling our role in this vital and important programme, with Manchester as our base."
The investment has been supported by local partners including the North West Development Agency, Midas, Learning and Skills Council, Jobcentre Plus and Trafford Council.
The two-year operation will create 1,300 new jobs in the Greater Manchester area. UK Data Capture will start recruitment for the roles in late summer this year.
Ian Cope, ONS Census operations director, said: "Securely capturing all of the information from the returned census questionnaires is a vital part of the census process. We're very pleased that the site has been confirmed, it is a significant milestone in our planning for the next census which is now just over a year away."
The census provides an estimate of the population of England and Wales and is carried out every ten years by the ONS. The information given is confidential and is protected by law. The statistics derived from the census underpin the allocation of billions of pounds of public money on local services like education, transport and health. They are also used by policy makers in central and local government to understand the needs of communities.
In March 2011 each household in England and Wales will receive a questionnaire either through the post or delivered by hand. The questionnaires can then be completed and returned by post or using the new secure online questionnaire. The paper questionnaires that are completed and returned by post will be delivered to the secure Manchester site to be processed.