Census Team Leader | Census 2021

Census Team Leader | Census 2021

Role Details

Location: 2,248 roles across England and Wales

Salary: From £13.01 per hour dependent on location

Hours: 37 hours per week

Contract duration: 16 February to 7 May 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. You should normally expect to work for a period of time each Monday between 10am and 8pm for authorisation of your team’s timesheets and expenses claims, except where agreed otherwise in advance with your manager.

Welcome events: 8 December 2020 to 7 January 2021

Application window: 2 November to 18 December 2020

Keen to make your mark on Census 2021? Our supervisors manage a team in their local area. Their job is to make sure people feel motivated, supported and inspired. They’re organised and know how to create a great team. They receive the training they need to be smartphone savvy, understand shift patterns and know everyone’s roles. They’re ready to deal with issues as they arise and keep the whole team up to speed.

You’ll need a good knowledge of your local area. While line management experience is useful, it’s not essential because we’ll give you training and support. What matters is that you can lead and coach a range of people, and clearly communicate what’s expected. You understand it’s important to support their learning and make sure they follow procedures. You’re comfortable with working independently and from home. You’re also a natural ambassador for what we’re trying to achieve. You’re resilient, and you use initiative to solve problems and make decisions.

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 team leader, you’ll be responsible for managing and coordinating the field operation in your assigned area. The main purpose of your role is to motivate and manage a team of census officers who will be tasked with encouraging people in your assigned area to complete their Census 2021 online questionnaire. You’ll lead and support up to 12 census officers with differing roles and need to drive and guide your team through the different phases of the operation You’ll work with the census engagement managers to support wider engagement at community events as required.

After undertaking your own training, you will be inducting your officers, in a staggered approach, as they come on board. You will oversee their training and assist them with any difficulties they may have, as well as accompanying them while they visit addresses in the field, to help settle them into their role.

As your team will be working remotely, excellent communication skills are a must, and using these you will ensure that your officers 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’ll deal with any incidents and escalate them as necessary. You’ll choose your working hours, within set guidelines stipulated in the working pattern above, so you can support your team.

You’ll be part of a wider group of team leaders reporting to an area manager, who you can call on for advice, throughout the operation. During your working hours you will also have the support of a census staff help line, as well as an online help facility.

A number of team leaders will be recruited with the ability to move into different areas, across England and Wales, where they are most needed to support the census operation.


  • increase response rates for the census
  • build 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 team of officers, to promote the benefits of the census and to encourage a positive response from households. To do this you’ll need to:

  • oversee the management of your officers and be their main point of contact throughout the operation
  • use team meetings, 1-2-1 and coaching to lead, motivate and support your team and ensure that your team understands and achieves its performance goals
  • prepare for the start of your team, familiarising yourself with their roles, and the working area
  • build a relationship with the census engagement manager to understand the communities within your work area
  • 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
  • accompany your officers in the field, complete observational reports and provide coaching
  • support your team during the field operation, resolving operational issues, escalating where appropriate and offering leadership throughout
  • provide daily updates and accurate weekly progress reports to your area manager, liaise with HQ team where required, including participating in evaluation and debrief activities
  • review and analyse the performance of your team, suggesting and implementing improvements to aid response
  • ensure your and team’s time and expenses sheets are accurate before authorising and submitting them promptly
  • be able to travel throughout your assigned area, this may involve long distances in rural areas
  • ensure confidentiality and security of census information at all times


Essential skills and experience

You’ll need to:

  • have previous experience of managing a team
  • 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, follow and deliver detailed written and verbal instructions
  • be confident using a smartphone, laptop and various applications
  • be professional at all times, and remain calm in challenging situations
  • take responsibility for making effective and fair decisions, in a timely manner



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 requirements

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. 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.

Applications: Click here to apply

Jamie Langstone