HH Global awarded 2021 Census contract

Richard Stuart-Turner
Friday, April 5, 2019

HH Global has been awarded the contract to manage the Census Print and Post contract following a competitive tender process as part of the Crown Commercial Service’s 3785 (Managed Print and Digital Solutions) Framework.

Contracted through its UK trading entity HH Associates Ltd, the Leatherhead-headquartered business will manage the print and post out services for the 2021 Census, which reaches every household in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, representing a volume of around 26 million letters.

The company is joining a number of suppliers that will help to deliver the estimate of all people and households for the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The contract covers the print and dispatch of postcards, initial contact letters, information leaflets, reminder letters and on-request supplementary materials to households and communal establishments in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

The print and dispatch of other printed materials to support the census field force and any other customer activities is also included.

HH Global chief executive Robert MacMillan told PrintWeek: “This was a highly competitive process. We’ve got a lot of experience in managing large volume print and distribution and I think particularly we were able to demonstrate how we can de-risk it through the supply chain.

“What really pleases me is that this demonstrates that our model works for the public sector as well. It’s something that we have invested heavily behind to grow that sector and it’s great to see that the time, effort and investment we have made has come to fruition.”

In preparation for the 2021 Census, HH Global will work with the ONS to plan and manage a rehearsal in selected parts of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The process and approach will be refined based on lessons learned.

As part of the programme, HH Global, which marked year-on-year growth in its recently published Q3 results, has committed to working in partnership with a range of suppliers and stakeholders, focusing on collaborative working to help the project achieve a high level of response and encourage public participation.

“There has already been a number of meetings and it’s an ongoing process. We will be meeting regularly because it’s such a critical product to get right, there is a lot of work in managing the process right at the outset through to the final production,” said MacMillan.

“The difference to [our] other large-scale campaigns is the amount of time in preparation. This is 2021 and we have already had numerous meetings. It requires a lot of project managing and cooperation with other major outsourcing companies and manufacturers.

“We need to put in the hard graft, time and effort to make sure we cover every eventuality. It’s got to be planned to make sure it all works successfully.”

The ONS told PrintWeek the printing element for the Census’ paper questionnaires is part of a broader contract with technology services company Leidos Innovations UK.

This company’s role will be to enable households who are unable to complete the Census online to take part by providing and managing a paper-based alternative.

It will prepare and dispatch up to 16 million paper questionnaire packs, and then securely manage, capture and digitise the responses for the 2021 Census in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland and the rehearsal in 2019. The 2011 Census was printed by Polestar.

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