Life as a Census Officer

You may have noticed that not much has happened on this site in the last two months. The reason for this is that I’ve been working for the ONS as a Census Officer in the field. I finished last week and gave myself a restful bank holiday weekend off from any work, the highlight being binge watching the whole of season 6 of Line of Duty.

I’d wanted to work on the census since my Dad did the same job in 1971. I say the same, but in those days it was very different indeed. Census officers delivered all the forms to their allocated streets and then went back later to collect the completed ones. The area that each officer had to cover was quite small, unless it was a rural area. School and full time jobs prevented me doing it in ’81, ’91 and ’01, and I was just too late applying in ’11. This year was the first ‘digital first’ census after online submission was an option in 2011. Rather than sending every household an actual form to complete they were instead sent an access code to use on the census website.

The census officer role this time was very much an encouragement and assistance role. Answering concerns that householders had and signposting appropriate help where online entry wasn’t possible. Because we were only dealing with households that hadn’t completed online the area we needed to cover was quite large. To start with 15,000 steps were covered in a day, but that soon increased until on the last day I did over 35,000. Notwithstanding the exercise, the role itself was very rewarding and provided a welcome break from being stuck at home. I’d thoroughly recommend it to anyone with the time in 2031.

And I’m now back to working on the day job with a list of things to cover for this site. Watch this space.

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