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Census coverage survey area support

Role details

Application window

20 January to 26 January 2021

This role is not yet open for applications

Want to play your part in making Census 2021 happen? Our officers contribute to the overall success of the census. This involves visiting different properties in an assigned area, sometimes several times. The goal is to make people aware why the census is important and feedback information that keeps our address register up to date.

As the friendly face of the census, it’s important that you’re able to approach people from all walks of life. You will enjoy being part of a close-knit and supportive team, plus you will be smartphone savvy and flexible about your working hours. You’re also comfortable with working by yourself, resilient, and you've reliable access to transport. A different language could be useful. Either way, you’ve got great communications skills and the ability to build trust. It’s also vital that you stick to our processes and keep the information you collect confidential, safe and secure.

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 support, your role will report to and support the area manager, who has responsibility for running the field operation in an assigned area. They will have a team of approximately 12 team leaders, whom you will work alongside to ensure the smooth running of the operation in your area.  

Your role will be varied. You’ll be asked to carry administrative tasks that will be a mixture of desk-based and in the field. You’ll be responsible for collating reports, arranging meetings, note-taking and communicating with a variety of people, such as ONS employees and local authorities.

You’ll work independently, most of the time, and be able to choose your own working hours, within set guidelines stipulated by your area manager.  


  • increase response rates to the census coverage survey
  • build up the census’ reputation
  • help us deliver a high-quality census

The six vital behaviours of an ONS ambassador

  1. Self-motivated

    – do the right job in the right order
  2. Organise and prioritise

    – react and respond appropriately to changing demands
  3. Compliant

    – keep accurate and timely records
  4. Integrity

    – keep the public’s data safe
  5. Learning orientated

    – commit to complete your learning and understanding your job
  6. Initiative

    – share your experience and local knowledge to support your team and remove barriers to response

Main responsibilities

First and foremost, you’ll assist your area manager and help them deliver a successful field operation. To do this you’ll need to:

  • support the area manager, team leaders and interviewers, as directed by the area manager, including the on-boarding and daily support of the field staff
  • support the area manager and team leaders to arrange and book meetings and venues, produce documentation and take minutes
  • act as the main point of contact when the area manager is unavailable, take on tasks or allocate them to others
  • collate weekly progress reports from the team leaders for your area manager and collate information and reports for the area manager/team leaders to review
  • support your area manager with the management of any issues, such as sickness, disciplinary, grievance and dismissal procedures. Ensure all procedures are followed correctly
  • support the area manager to coordinate visits from ONS staff observing the field operation 
  • hold ad hoc drop-in sessions for officers and team leaders who need support with using their devices and software
  • participate in evaluation and debrief activities

Essential skills and experience

You’ll need to:

  • have good written and verbal skills in English (Welsh would also be an advantage if working in Wales)
  • have good customer service skills,
  • have the confidence to deal with a range of people including management and peers
  • be well organised and able to plan and work within specified timescales
  • be confident working both independently with little supervision and as part of a team
  • be able to understand and follow detailed written and verbal instructions
  • be confident using a smartphone and various applications
  • be professional at all times, and remain calm in challenging situations
  • be able to demonstrate a flexible approach to your work
  • be able to take notes that are clear and comprehensive


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 working area, you may need to hold a current, full UK driving licence and have the use of a motor vehicle, insured for business use. You’ll be paid for travel expenses within your work area.

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.