Communal Establishments Officer | Census 2021

Communal Establishments Officer | Census 2021

Role Details

Location: 1,721 roles across England and Wales

Salary: From £11.22 per hour dependent on location

Hours: 25 hours per week

Contract duration: 16 February to 14 April 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

Welcome events: 8 December 2020 to 7 January 2021

Application window: 2 November to 23 December 2020


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 in the evenings and weekends, as this is when we are more likely to find people available. 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 communal establishments officer, in an assigned working area, you’ll be part of a team of up to 12 census officers, reporting to a communal establishments team leader. Communal establishments (CEs) are managed residential accommodations such as universities and care homes.  The main purpose of your role is to make contact and visit addresses that have been assigned to you, either to deliver questionnaires or follow-up non-respondents. Most of your work will be done in person, although depending on the type of establishment, you will also need to make phone calls ahead of your visits. This enable you to build relationships with the managers and residents to encourage them to take part in Census 2021.You’ll help them overcome any objections or barriers they may have to completing, either helping them yourself or referring them to available support.

Your working hours will be flexible to enable you to maximise your ability to engage with the CE populations you are assigned each day. 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
  • build on the census’ good reputation
  • help us deliver a high-quality census


The six vital behaviours of an ONS ambassador

  • Self-motivated

– do the right job in the right order

  • Supportive

– engage and encourage the public on their doorstep

  • Compliant

– keep accurate and timely records

  • Integrity

– keep the public’s data safe

  • Learning orientated

– commit to complete your learning and understanding your job

  • 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 and to encourage a positive response. To do this you’ll need to:

  • visit the list of addresses given to you via an app on the phone provided and accurately record the visit outcome
  • provide regular reports on progress to your team leader and attend team meetings
  • meet with your line manager during the first week and receive your CE Officer kit (weighing approximately 10 kgs)
  • make contact (by telephone or in person) with the CEs in your area
  • build relationships with CE managers to encourage them to take part in Census 2021
  • deliver large quantities (several boxes) of letters and questionnaires to establishments
  • encourage residents of CEs and SPGs to complete the census
  • follow up people who are yet to fill in the questionnaire
  • stay in regular contact with your team leader and the rest of your team
  • ensure confidentiality and security of census information at all times
  • follow ONS procedures, especially those regarding security and your safety
  • complete e-learning as required to achieve the necessary competencies and skills for the role
  • participate in evaluation and debrief activities
  • be prepared to travel around your designated area to visit addresses (the distances will vary dependent on whether your area is urban or rural)


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

You’ll 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.

Applications: Click here to apply

Jamie Langstone