Despite the problems reported by residents, the gov says its Census website didn’t crash on May 30.
Policy and Reform Minister Ray Harmer was asked by Douglas East MHK Clare Barber to what operating capacity the census online system had; how many times it crashed on census night; whether he will grant an extension for census submission given the challenges faced; and what improvements in communication have been planned for the future?
In his response, Mr Harmer said: ‘It was specified during the design stage that the online census system would have enough capacity for 44,000 concurrent users.
‘Although the online census system encountered problems on the day of Census night, the system itself did not in fact crash. The source of these problems was a previously unidentified software issue that manifested under the high loads experienced on the 30th May, starting at approximately 11am. This caused very slow performance and, for some users, error messages being reported for most of the day while the Census development team worked to develop code to fix the problem. Not all users were affected the same, however, and despite these problems, 3,980 households successfully managed to complete their census return using the online system on that day.’
However Mr Harmer did admit that because of these difficulties, the deployment of field officers to assist people who have not yet completed the Census ‘has already been pushed back a week to June 21’.
He added: ‘It should be noted that field officers’ primary role when first visiting households is to assist people in completing the census, if asked to do so, and that fines will only be sought for households who fail entirely to submit a census response despite repeated visits and written requests to do so. Some improvements in communication have already been implemented or planned, in the form of providing fuller details of the process that leads to a fine being sought against a household. Further improvements for future censuses will be considered and reviewed fully once this year’s census is complete.’