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Census coverage survey area manager

Role details

Application window

13 January to 20 January 2021

This role is not yet open for applications

Ready for a leadership role in Census 2021? Our managers are responsible for putting the people, plans and infrastructure in place to make sure everything runs smoothly in the field. We rely on their vision, strategic mindset and proactive approach. Closely leading a team of team leaders, they ensure the right use of resources within the right time frame, to deliver best results.

We’re looking for people who are organised, good at managing projects, and great at problem-solving and decision-making. Resilience and communication skills really matter. You’re able to influence, encourage and negotiate, at every level. Plus, you understand the role of the people you manage, and support their learning and development. It’s also important that you’re able to build effective relationships with your colleagues and community, sharing your expertise when required.

The census only happens every 10 years and counts every person and household in England and Wales. To help us do this, we at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) need a big field team to work within communities helping people to take part. In the field team for Census 2021, you’ll meet people from all walks of life and gain valuable experience. What’s more, you’ll be part of something that’s vital to us all. The information you’ll collect will help with decisions on planning and funding services in your community.

So, join the team and make a lasting impact.

With the flexibility to choose your own working hours, you can make this contract work for you, as long as you are available to work the majority of time in the evenings and weekends, as this is when we are more likely to find people at home. As well as an attractive pay rate, equipment will be provided and you’ll be given full training and support to carry out this vital role.


The role

As a census coverage survey area manager you’ll be responsible for leading and managing the field operation in your assigned area. The main purpose of your role is to ensure that you achieve the best possible response to the census coverage survey in your allocated area. To achieve this, you’ll motivate and manage a team of approximately 12 team leaders, who will be managing a team of interviewers in the field. You’ll need to drive and guide your team through the different phases of the operation and help to identify and overcome any barriers to success.

After undertaking your own training, you will be inducting and training your area support, and then your team leaders, assisting them with any difficulties they may have. In addition to your team leaders, you’ll also line manage an area support. This is a field-based team member who’ll report directly to you and carry out tasks to support you and your team.

As your team will be working remotely, excellent communication skills are a must, and using these you will ensure that your team leaders feel supported, through regular contact, calls, and team meetings. You’ll provide support, encouragement and motivation, identifying and cascading best practice and sharing the lessons learnt from any problems and issues. You will deal with any incidents, and escalate them as necessary. Your team will often be working at evenings and weekends, so you’ll need to work flexibly to ensure you’re available to support them, while also engaging with your line manager.

You’ll report to the regional manager who’ll be based at the head office in Titchfield. During your working hours you will also have the support of a census staff help line, as well as an online help facility.


  • increase the response rate to the census coverage survey
  • build up the census reputation

The six vital behaviours of a census ambassador

  1. Ensure everyone is working -

    ensure everyone is working effectively, monitoring performance to quickly identify and resolve issues
  1. Ensure your team is equipped -

    ensure your team is suitably equipped for their role with learning and equipment, escalate any issues to ensure prompt resolution
  1. Ensure your team is safe -

    ensure your team are safe and working safely at all times
  1. Ensure your team are driving their 6 vital behaviours -

    motivate and support – observe and provide feedback to team members to deliver successful results
  1. Use local knowledge to improve response -

    use management reports and share knowledge to improve response, react and respond appropriately to changing demands
  1. Make visible and help remove barriers to achieve the above -

    dealing with escalated issues – proactively identify problems and barriers to response, driving and supporting prompt resolutions

Main responsibilities

First and foremost, your role is to effectively manage and support your teams to promote the benefits of the census and census coverage survey to encourage a positive response from households.

To do this you will need to:

  • oversee the management of remote teams in the field and be the main point of contact for your team leaders throughout the operation
  • use team meetings, 1-2-1 and coaching to motivate and support your teams, ensure that your teams understand and achieve their performance goals
  • contact the census engagement manager to understand the communities within your work area
  • prepare for your team to begin work which includes getting familiar with their roles, carrying out their inductions and overseeing their training
  • monitor response rates within your region, implement interventions or operational changes to ensure your teams are meeting census coverage survey objectives
  • review and analyse the performance of your teams, suggesting and implementing improvements to aid response
  • ensure your teams are operating within agreed budget limits, making adjustments to bring within tolerance where necessary
  • support your team during the field operation, resolving operational issues, escalating where appropriate and offering excellent leadership throughout
  • manage your own working pattern, and that of your team, to ensure sufficient cover is available throughout the operation
  • manage any issues, such as sickness, disciplinary, grievance and dismissal procedures, supported by HR. Ensure all procedures are followed correctly
  • provide daily updates and accurate weekly progress reports to your line manager, liaise with HQ team where required, including participating in evaluation and debrief activities
  • ensure your and your teams’ time and expenses sheets are accurate, before authorising them and submit promptly
  • be able to travel throughout your assigned area, this may involve long distances in rural areas

Essential skills and experience

You’ll need to:

  • work effectively leading a large team including working and building relationships with remote workers/teams
  • demonstrate operational experience, including planning and implementing processes and procedures remotely
  • be adaptable to different working environments
  • be able to work effectively in a fast paced and sometimes pressurised environment
  • have excellent written and verbal skills in English (Welsh would also be an advantage if working in Wales)
  • have excellent customer service skills, including speaking to members of the public
  • have the confidence to deal with the public and local community
  • be well organised and able to plan and work within specified timescales
  • be confident working both independently and as part of a team, using your initiative
  • be able to understand, follow and deliver detailed written and verbal instructions
  • be confident using a smartphone and various applications
  • be professional at all times, and remain calm in challenging situations


We will ensure we follow all appropriate government guidelines to keep you safe whilst working for ONS. Appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) including hand sanitiser and face masks will be provided to all staff; for your safety, you will be required to use and wear that PPE, as instructed, when you are working. Social distancing will be maintained throughout the operation.

Other requirements

You’ll need to:

  • be prepared to use your home as an office and for storage of boxes of field staff materials (you’ll also need to let your insurance company know that you work from home)
  • be able to receive supplies, assemble and distribute them accordingly

Driving requirement

Dependent on your assigned geographical area, you may need to hold a current full UK driving licence and have the use of a motor vehicle (insured for business use) for which you’ll be paid a mileage allowance and travel expenses. For roles in all other locations, this would be advantageous but is not a requirement.

Annual leave

Annual leave allowance is a total of 28 days per annum, calculated on a pro-rata basis based on employment duration and hours worked.

Holiday will be taken in one block during the specified holiday week, which is the last week of the employment period. Unfortunately, due to operational reasons, it will not be possible to take holiday at other times.



Preparation before you apply

Before you apply for any role, please make sure you understand the criteria for working on Census 2021. Make time to read our guidance in preparation before you apply.

This role is not yet open for applications, however, you can register your interest to work on Census 2021.