Census 2022 – Go live checklist

March 20, 2024 by No Comments | Category Digital Assurance Office, Digital Scotland, Technology Assurance Framework

Guest blog by Laura Johnstone, Continuous Improvement team, Digital Assurance Office.

The Digital Assurance Office have been working with the National Records of Scotland (NRS) to capture and share some of their experiences from the delivery of the Census Programme. This is the eighth in a series of case studies.  You can read the earlier case studies, and our other insights on our blog.

For over 200 years Scotland has relied on a ten year Census to underpin national and local decision making.  The 2022 Census was the first predominantly digital Census collection.  The Census is a long term programme and is undertaken by the NRS.


The Census programme received a recommendation following a pilot Go Live Gate review for a Go-live Checklist to be established to support focus on key aspects of delivery as the programme progressed through the latter stages of readiness for go live.  The programme implemented this recommendation and the review team subsequently drew out the Go Live readiness checklist developed as ‘having significant beneficial impacts and can be considered as an example of good practice’.

Key Activities

The Census developed a Go Live checklist which can be adapted to meet the needs of different Go Lives within the programme.

  • The checklist asks 3 questions:
  1. Are we ready?
  2. How can we prove we are ready?
  3. What level of risk are we carrying?
  • It is based around the Technology Assurance Framework Go Live Gate Checklist and enables the programme to proactively consider what it needs to put in place – and evidence – before Go Live.
  • It is discussed at a weekly Stand Up which then feeds through into a fortnightly Delivery Management Forum and the monthly Executive Board. The information in the checklist ‘rolls up’ the level of detail, enabling a strategic focus on the required steps, and risk being faced in delivering the required steps before Go Live. Where risks are escalating, management decisions can then be taken on mitigation.

Reflections and learning points

  1. As a tool it has enabled the Census to navigate a number of Go Lives. It allows the programme to make a tangible shift in focus from delivery to Go Live, supporting a strategic view of what needs to be done in readiness for Go Live.
  2. The checklist has to make sense for the programme or project you are managing, context is everything. The checklist used by NRS has been adapted to meet the needs of the different Go Lives that the Census has delivered.

Find out more

The Technology Assurance Framework (TAF)  is designed to support programmes and projects to deliver successful outcomes and ensure that the lessons learned from previous experience are reflected and embedded in future practice.

The Digital Assurance Office are working with organisations who have had assurance through the TAF to share insights which might help others deliver digital projects.  If you want to get involved – or have thoughts on what insights would be helpful to share – contact us at

For more information about this case study contact further information and signposting to advice and support on programme and project management contact the Programme and Project Management Centre for Expertise.

The Scottish Government programme and project management principles are available and apply to any project of any size.

For advice on designing and delivering high quality digital services visit Scottish Government Digital Support Hub (DSH)

Tags: , ,


Leave a comment

By submitting a comment, you understand it may be published on this public website. Please read our privacy policy to see how the Scottish Government handles your information.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *