Tuesday, 9 August 2016

The abominable count

Five years ago one other volunteer and myself acted as Census Field Officers for patients in the hospital. Despite receiving some training from the local area representative for the Census we were totally unprepared for the effort involved in distributing these forms to some 270 patients and collecting their completed responses. It took us something like six hours to distribute these forms, answering questions along the way, and when we finished around 10pm on the night I was exhausted. The follow up work continued for the following couple of mornings. I was adamant I would never perform this function again.

Fast forward five years to 2016 and tonight was once again Census night. A week ago my arm was (figuratively) twisted and despite my previous adamance I agreed to perform this work again. My reluctant change of heart was based on the fact that this time eight volunteers would be involved in the distribution and collection of forms and that someone else would manage the project.

Given events that saw the online facility for returns shut down under some form of technical attack it is somewhat ironic that the marketing for Census night included a 'Pause' symbol logo and message.

Census 'fail'
Even with four times the number of volunteers involved compared with the previous Census, distribution of forms took almost as long as in 2011. However, preparation based on our previous experience made the distribution more streamlined and the collection of the completed forms was considerably more efficient and speedy than on the earlier occasion.

It is still a tiring exercise. Once again I am determined not to repeat the work.


  1. You would have filled out many census forms. Can you recall any being so troublesome as this one? Good on you for being determined not to repeat the work that you you will repeat.

    1. I completed mine online before the weekend. There seemed few questions to me. Submitting it online went smoothly.