Census Transformation Programme - Head of Census Statistical Data Processing - G6

Office for National Statistics

Closing date: 23 Jul 2017

Reference number





Grade 6

Contract type

Fixed Term

Length of employment

31st March 2024

Business area

ONS - Census - Census Transformation Programme

Type of role


Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time, Job share, Part-time


Min 30 hours per week

Number of posts



ONS Titchfield, Segensworth Road, Titchfield, Fareham, Hants, PO15 5RR

About the job

Job description

About ONS:
We are the UK's national statistical institute and the largest producer of official statistics in the UK. We are also the only government department with the production of statistics as its main role. We are independent of ministers and instead report through the UK Statistics Authority to Parliament and the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Our role is to enhance understanding of the UK through trusted statistics. The diverse range of economic and social statistics that we produce includes the labour market, gross domestic product (GDP headline economic growth indicator), inflation indices and population estimates and projections. Our statistics provide evidence to assist resource allocation, policy making and evaluation at both a national and local level. ONS also creates and maintains data sources which are available to business and researchers, subject to confidentiality conditions.

The census has a 210 year history and is critical for policy development and monitoring across the UK. It has a significant impact on such things as the allocation of resources to local areas; service planning and provision by Local Authorities and the National Health Service; and is used by academics, businesses and the general public to improve knowledge and understanding of the UK Authority.

This is an opportunity to play a key role in the large-scale 2021 Census programme that will change how ONS interacts with citizens. This task will be guided by some fundamental principles; putting the needs of users first and focusing on delivery and outcomes over process, whilst ensuring operational delivery and maintaining security and confidentiality. The 2021 Census programme is in the early stages of planning and is also currently defining the requirements for delivery. The Head of Census Statistical Data Processing will be key in shaping these requirements and plans.

Job Description:
The post holder will have responsibility for co-ordinating, specifying and implementing the Statistical and Operational needs of 2021 Census Processing. He/She will assure that processing and analysis services delivered by the ONS Digital and Services Technology team meet Census needs on the quality, coherence, validity and timing of the Census results. The post holder will lead on the design and implementation of the processing and analysis operations ensuring services are operated effectively to time and quality considerations. As part of this, he/she will lead in establishing assurance mechanisms for assessing the statistical validity of the data through each stage of census data processing and the handover of data for production and dissemination of census outputs. They will also build the team and lead the implementation of Census Processing.
Census data processing traditionally consists of about 18 different operations to validate, clean, adjust, and finalise census results. More information on the steps in data processing can be found in chapter 5 of the 2011 Census General Report. For the 2021 Census the aims are to achieve similar levels of quality as 2011 but seek significant improvements in timeliness drawing on wider use of administrative sources, data science techniques and improved technologies.

The post holder will work closely with other areas both within and external to the Census programme (below):

Census Statistical Outputs Design Project (CSOD) which has overall responsibility for the quality of the census results, outputs and the end to end Census design
Admin Data Census Project (ADC) to align methods and maximise use of administrative data sources.
Business Architecture Branch who are responsible for the development of the Census Target Operating Model, Testing Strategy and Service integration plans
Digital Services and Technology (DST) team who will be responsible for delivering IT services to the Project.
Census Field Operations and Data Collection Services who have the responsibility for the collection of census returns and undertaking the Census Coverage Survey.
Methods, Data and Research (MDR) Directorate who will lead on the specification, and implementation of some of the more complex methodology such as the estimation, edit and imputation for census non-response.
ONS Data as a Service team (DAAS) who will lead on the acquisition of administrative data and on the provision of a linkage and matching service for ONS

Provide overall leadership for the 2021 Census Processing Project, working closely with the Census Data Processing Project Manager and Census Programme Manager; Monitor and control progress throughout providing regular progress updates in line with Programme governance on the delivery of processing services
Manage the operation of the Census data processing for the 2021 Census and the 2019 Census rehearsal.
Establish and Implement the design, for Processing Operations for the 2021 Census.
Lead the specification of the statistical methodology to meet user needs across all aspects of Census data processing within the overall bounds of the Census design; and, to maximise the use of other data sources, such as administrative data, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of data processing
Lead the specification of requirements including the survey questionnaire content for the Census Coverage Survey, working closely with the Census Data Collection Services and Field Operations Teams
Work closely across numerous DST delivery streams to ensure user needs are adequately clarified, prioritised and issues resolved.
Establish and implement the testing and assurance methods to ensure DST Services meet 2021 Census processing needs.
Establish and implement mechanisms for validating the statistical quality of the data throughout processing.
Identify the skills of, and recruit the necessary resource for, the Census processing team. Although size and skills are to be determined, it is estimated that line management of 3 Grade 7s and an overall team of about 30 of different professions, will be required.
Engage with key stakeholders, including devolved administrations, to gain support and assurance for the statistical methods.

Person specification

Essential :
- Experience in leading and successfully delivering data processing project (application and CV).


- Member of an analytical profession (e.g. Government Statistical Service, Government Operational Research etc.) (application and CV)


We'll assess you against these competencies during the selection process:

  • Leading and communicating
  • Collaborating and partnering
  • Managing a quality service

Civil Service Competency Framework



Civil Service pension schemes may be available for successful candidates.

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
Successful candidates must pass basic security checks.

Nationality statement

Candidates will be subject to UK immigration requirements as well as Civil Service nationality rules.

If you're applying for a role requiring security clearance please be aware that foreign or dual nationality is not an automatic bar. However certain posts may have restrictions which could affect those who do not have sole British nationality or who have personal connections with certain countries outside the UK.

Selection process details

Candidates are required to give written evidence against the 3 competencies above using the STAR approach, and demonstrate relevant skills and experience through an accompanying CV. Candidates that pass the sift will be invited to attend an interview.

In cases where there is a high number of applications the sift pass mark may be adjusted and candidates will be invited to interview in merit order, i.e. those scoring the highest.

If your application progresses to interview all advertised competencies will be assessed.

A reserve list may be held for a period up to 12 months from which further appointments may be made.

Applicants who are near misses for this specific role will have their details kept on file for a period of 12 months and may be contacted in relation to or offered similar roles in the future

In certain circumstances, interviews may be conducted by Video Conference.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

Open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) and certain non EEA nationals. Further information on whether you are able to apply is available here.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Terms & Conditions

This is a project based post and as such is funded for a finite period of time.

Established Civil Servants should note that if this post would represent a promotion, that promotion would be substantive. As this is a substantive move, applicants moving laterally or on promotion would retain no right to move back into their previous post.

Whilst this post is temporary, the type of contract which you will be offered will depend on your existing contract status:

If you are already employed by the civil service on a permanent contract, you will be offered a permanent contract. Therefore, when the funding expires, if you have not already secured an alternative post, you will be treated in accordance with any applicable redeployment or workforce management protocols;

If you are already employed by the civil service on a fixed-term contract, you will be offered a fixed-term contract. Towards the end of the fixed term period, the ongoing needs of the Programme will be reviewed and if appropriate an ongoing contract may be offered; and

If you are not currently employed by the civil service, you will be offered a fixed-term contract. Towards the end of the fixed term period, the ongoing needs of the Programme will be reviewed and if appropriate an ongoing contract may be offered.

Apply and further information

Contact point for applicants

01329 444962

Sift/interview dates and location

Sifting 28th July 2017
Interviews on 11th August 2017
Interviews will take place at ONS, Titchfield, PO15 5RR

Further information

ONS employees undertaking their probation or those who are currently under a formal plan must remain in their current post for the duration of the agreed period.

ONS employees who have successfully gained a lateral move or promotion that was advertised through the Civil Service Jobs either Internal or Across Government should remain in that post for a minimum period of one year before applying for any further advertised lateral moves.

ONS employees that are applying on promotion, or have been at their substantive grade for more than one year are eligible to apply for any vacancy that is advertised on the Civil Service Jobs website either Internal or Across Government.

All ONS employees can apply for vacancies advertised as External.

Current Civil Servants will retain their existing salary if joining on level transfer or move to the minimum entry point, whichever is greater. *If transferring from a post with a London pay addition to a National post you will be moved to an equivalent point within the relevant ONS National pay zone.

Civil Servants joining on promotion will receive either the minimum entry point, or 10% on top of their base salary in their substantive grade, whichever is greater. * Employees transferring on promotion from a post with a London pay addition to a National post will be moved to an equivalent point within the relevant ONS National pay zone before the promotion increase is applied.

Only in very exceptional cases will successful candidates be considered for a higher starting salary.

If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the Recruitment Principles and you wish to make a complaint, in the first instance, you should contact Paul Cudmore, Office for National Statistics, Government Buildings, Cardiff Road, Newport NP10 8XG. If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the Department, you can contact the Civil Service Commission at http://civilservicecommission.independent.gov.uk/civil-service-recruitment/complaints/

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