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Frequently asked questions

This website is designed to tell you everything you need to know about working on Census 2021. But if you have questions, here’s where to look. Below, you can discover what people frequently ask us and find the answers you need.

There are legal restrictions in place around the employment of individuals who are still at school. Due to the nature of the Census work, we are unable to employ anyone who is still of compulsory school age (i.e. anyone who had not turned 16 before the start of the current school year). If you are still at school but over the compulsory school age, you are welcome to apply for a role.

Yes, you are able to claim reasonable travel expenses for attending the event, provided you bring the right documentation with you and are successfully confirmed as an ONS employee. This includes travel expenses for your journey to and from the event.

The annual leave allowance is 28 days including public holidays in England and Wales, calculated on a pro-rata basis based on employment duration and hours worked. There are restrictions on when holidays can be taken for operational reasons which may vary according to the role undertaken.

Please refer to the job descriptions for further details.

If you have questions or need help at any stage of the process, please contact us by email: or visit the contact us page. Remember to include your contact telephone number and email address (if it differs from the one you email us from). We will get back to you as soon as we can.

If you have any questions or need help at any stage of the process, please contact us by email or telephone without delay.

If you need us to make certain changes (known as 'reasonable adjustments') to make sure you’re not disadvantaged during the recruitment process, you should contact us. Remember to include your contact telephone number and email address (if it differs from the one you email us from). We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

The information provide will only be used for the purposes of determining if reasonable adjustments are required during the recruitment process. We're committed to eliminating discrimination and encouraging diversity amongst the workforce.

We’re recruiting for a range of fixed-term jobs, from managers and supervisors who co-ordinate activities, to officers who help the public complete questionnaires. A variety of full-time and part-time opportunities are available. All roles require the flexibility to work evenings and weekends.

Please select “Search for a job” button to search for opportunities in your area and apply online.

We’re recruiting to roles located throughout England and Wales.

All opportunities are advertised on the “Search for a job” page. Please select the “More information” button to view job descriptions and if the job is live, you can apply for the role and start your application

Select “Search for a Job” button to see a summary for each job. You’ll be able to view the job description via the “More information” button, if you want to view further information about each one.

You can apply online. Select “Search for a job” to view all the different jobs available, to register and begin your application.

The Civil Service Nationality Rules govern eligibility for employment in the Civil Service on the grounds of nationality. You must therefore fulfil the required eligibility criteria before you can progress an application with the Office for National Statistics.

You’re eligible to apply if you're a:

  • UK national
  • Commonwealth Citizen
  • national of the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • Swiss or Turkish national (subject to certain restrictions).

Certain family members of EEA, Swiss and Turkish nationals who are not themselves EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals, may also be eligible. The nationality requirements for census roles are determined by the Civil Service nationality requirements. For full details about these requirements and exceptions, including dual nationality (that is, you are a British citizen and are also a national of another country), please check this website for further information.

Rates of pay vary, according to the role. You will find the pay details for each role on each job description page.

You will receive your pay on a weekly basis.

For the majority of roles, it typically takes about 10 minutes to complete the online application form. Please refer to the application process

We’re recruiting a large number of people to work on Census 2021 over the next 10 months. This gives us enough time to give equal consideration to all and complete pre‐employment checks. There may be long periods of time before you hear from us, but we’ll try to keep you up to date regarding the progress of your application.

We carry out pre‐employment checks to make sure that anyone who applies for a job on the census is suitable to be into regular contact with members of the public.

Pre‐employment checks include:

  • for roles of twelve weeks or under, receipt of one year’s satisfactory employment history
  • for roles for more than twelve weeks, receipt of three year’s satisfactory employment history
  • checking your employment history by obtaining references for the previous 1-3 years
  • carrying out a criminal records check for convictions that are unspent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

The criminal records check will be at the expense of the Office for National Statistics. Please note, you are still able to apply if you have not been in employment during the previous three years.

Yes, you can apply for more than one role. However, you can only have one application live at a time and you cannot apply for the same role twice.

You can apply for a new role if: 

  • you withdraw from your current application or role and inform the team of your decision*  
  • you have been notified by the team that your previous application was unsuccessful 

*You do not need to inform the team of your decision, if you receive an automated email confirming your withdrawal. 

We need to ensure that all candidates go through the same recruitment process. This is to comply with fair and open competition rules applying to the public sector and equal opportunities legislation. Also, the remit and duties for roles will change for each census

We’ll give you a virtual induction when you start your contract. In addition, we’ll provide you with online learning that ensures you know what to expect when you’re out in the field. If you’re applying for a management role, we’ll invite you to attend a virtual classroom session. This will give you the extra skills you need to get the best out of your teams.

Yes. However, student visas restrict the number of hours you can work per week, during term-time, and the majority of census roles involve term-time working.

Depending on the course, you can normally only work the following hours when sponsored by a UK Higher Education Institution (HEI):

  • full-time course below degree level: up to 10 hours per week during term-time
  • full-time course at degree level or above: up to 20 hours per week during term-time

It’s your responsibility to provide documentary evidence of your right to work in the UK. If you’re resident in the UK on a student visa, you should check that you can complete the role without breaching the terms of your visa.

We will only pay expenses when you're travelling within your allocated work area to carry out your role. We will not pay expenses for travel between your home and your place of work.

Adecco UK Ltd has been contracted by the Office for National Statistics to provide recruitment, training and payroll for Census 2021. All staff will be employed by the Office for National Statistics.

For some roles, you must hold a driving licence that’s valid in the UK and have the use of a vehicle (insured for business use), for which you’ll be paid a mileage allowance. If you do not have business insurance before you apply, you will need to provide us with proof before your induction that you have acquired this.

If you are unsure if the area you wish to work is a driving essential area please contact the help desk.

A young person can only start full-time work once they’ve reached the minimum school leaving age. For part-time work, restrictions apply. In England, a young person must be in part-time education or training until they’re 18. In Wales, you can leave school on the last Friday in June, as long as you’ll be 16 by the end of that school year’s summer holidays.

For further information, please visit

Each job listing contains details of the pay rates for the role. You will receive your pay on a weekly basis.

Payments will be made within set periods. This will be outlined in the contract of employment you receive, before starting work.

You will be asked to provide your bank account details before starting work, and payment will be made by BACS transfer to this account.


Due to the measures we've put in place to minimise the risk of coronavirus, all face-face interviews will be done at the virtual welcome events. These will be done by video call. Only those that are applying for a manager or supervisor grade role will require an interview.

The virtual welcome event will require you to have web cam facilities to enable us to have a video call with you. You will also be required to have this for your induction and online learning. We'll be using WebEx as our conference call provider, download WebEx to your smart device here

Any smart device with webcam capabilities will work. This could be a mobile phone, laptop, tablet. You will need to download WebEx before your virtual welcome event. You can do that here.

ONS take your health and safety very seriously. Whilst working in the field you will have access to the Safe Hub app. The Safe Hub app will allow you to raise an alarm, speak to an operator and allow an operator to monitor your location. The Safe Hubb app can be accessed at any time during your working hours.

We are doing everything reasonably practical to reduce any risks caused by COVID-19. Our virtual welcome events, virtual induction and online learning will reduce the risk of contact with large groups.

Please review ‘Our COVID-19 update’ to view the steps we have taken.

If you are successful you will be asked to attend a day 1 – right to work event where you will meet your manager. You must follow Government guidelines when attending this, these are: 

  • HANDS - Wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds.
  • FACE - Cover your face in enclosed spaces, especially where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. For further guidance on when you must wear a face covering and where you may be exempt select this guide.
  • SPACE - Stay 2 metres apart where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place.

All census field staff will be provided with PPE during the first week of employment. The PPE you'll receive will help to reduce the risk of contracting Covid-19 while working for us. For your safety, you will be required to use and wear that PPE, as instructed, when you are working.

The PPE consists of:

  • reusable face masks
  • hand sanitisers
  • anti-bacterial wipes

Please review ‘Our COVID-19 Update’ to view the steps we have taken.

During your employment you'll be able to place orders for PPE as necessary, if yours becomes lost or damaged.

Please review ‘Our COVID-19 Update’ to view the steps we have taken.

We fully encourage all our staff to remove themselves from a situation if they feel unsafe. You should contact your manager to inform them of what has happened. Your manager will raise this as a Health & Safety incident.

ONS will take appropriate actions following an investigation.

Please review ‘Our COVID-19 Update’ to view the steps we have taken.

You will need to report to your manager, who will take appropriate action. You will also need to follow current government advice on testing and self-isolation.

Please review ‘Our COVID-19 Update’ to view the steps we have taken.