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Census coverage survey interviewer

Role details


4,236 roles across England and Wales


From £11.22 per hour dependent on location


15, 25 or 37 hours per week

Contract duration

27 April to 2 June 2021

Working pattern

There are no fixed daily normal working hours. However, you are required and agree to work your duties within the hours detailed below: Monday to Saturday, between 9am and 8pm. Sundays and Bank Holidays, between 10am and 4pm. In addition, a minimum of 60% of these hours are to be worked during the following times: Monday to Friday, between 4pm to 8pm. Saturdays, between 9am and 8pm. Sundays, between 10am and 4pm.

Welcome events

3 March to 24 March 2021

Application window

15 February to 17 March 2021

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.

What the Census Coverage Survey is - Census 2021 

The Role

As a census coverage survey interviewer you’ll be part of a team of approximately 12 interviewers reporting to the census coverage survey team leader in your assigned geographical area. The main purpose of your role is to complete a doorstep interview at every household identified within your assigned postcode. You’ll do this by listing all properties in your postcode areas and recording them on a smartphone. You’ll knock on doors and encourage residents to complete a doorstep interview with you. You’ll make every effort to contact residents at each property you have listed and encourage them to take part in the census coverage survey. You’ll need to reassure people who have concerns about completing the questionnaire. You’ll make repeated visits to each address, as necessary, to gain a response.

You’ll be working independently, out and about in your area, working hours within set guidelines stipulated in the working pattern above.  Your team leader will provide support, assistance and guidance as required, and will meet up with you when you are out working, to help settle you into your role.


  • increase response rates to the census coverage survey
  • build up the census’ reputation

The six vital behaviours of an ONS ambassador

  1. Self-motivated

    – do the right job in the right order
  2. Supportive

    – engage and encourage the public on their doorstep
  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, your role is to promote the benefits of the census coverage survey and to encourage a positive response from households. To do this you’ll need to:

  • list all properties in your postcode areas and record them on an app on a smartphone
  • visit all addresses within your postcode areas and continue to attempt to make contact at each address to conduct an interview at every household within your workload
  • re-assure people who have concerns about the interview and help them to overcome any barriers they may have about completing the survey
  • provide regular reports on progress to your field manager (including supply orders) and attend team meetings
  • meet with your line manager during the first week and receive your CCS interviewer kit (weighing approximately 10 kgs)
  • follow ONS procedures, especially those regarding security and your safety (covered in your training)
  • provide households with additional information to help them complete their response, which will include questionnaires, cards and leaflets which you will carry in your bag on a daily basis
  • submit your pay and expenses claims promptly, providing receipts where required
  • ensure confidentiality and security of census information at all times
  • complete e-learning as required to achieve the necessary competencies and skills for the role
  • participate in evaluation activities and debrief activities
  • be prepared to travel around your large geographical area to visit addresses (the distances will vary dependent on whether your area is urban or rural); overnight stays may be required

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 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 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


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.

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 will 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.

Ready to apply for a role? You can do this now, via the link below.