The Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR)
Introduced in 1994, the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) is the sampling frame for surveys of businesses carried out by the ONS and by other government departments. It is also a key data source for analysis of business activity.
How is the IDBR updated?
The main administrative sources for the IDBR are VAT trader and PAYE employer information supplied to the ONS by HM Revenue & Customs under the Value Added Tax Act 1994 for VAT traders and the Finance Act 1969 for PAYE employers; details of incorporated businesses are also passed to ONS by Companies House. ONS Survey data and survey information from the Department of Finance and Personnel, Northern Ireland (DEFPNI) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) farms register provide auxiliary information. The IDBR combines the information from the three administrative sources with this survey data in a statistical register comprising over two million enterprises. These comprehensive administrative sources combined with the survey data contribute to the coverage on the IDBR, which is one of its main strengths.
Business units held on the IDBR
The business units held on the IDBR can be grouped into 3 types:
VAT trader and PAYE employer information supplemented with incorporated business data from Companies House.
A group of legal units under common ownership is called an Enterprise Group.
An Enterprise is the smallest combination of legal units (generally based on VAT and/or PAYE records) which has a certain degree of autonomy within an Enterprise Group.
An individual site (for example a factory or shop) in an enterprise is called a local unit.
Reporting Units hold the mailing address to which the survey questionnaires are sent. The questionnaire can cover the enterprise as a whole, or parts of the enterprise identified by lists of local units.
Coverage on the IDBR
The IDBR covers businesses in all parts of the economy, missing some very small businesses operating without VAT or PAYE schemes (self employed and those with low turnover and without employees) and some non-profit organisations. The Department for Business Innovation & Skills makes an estimate of the total number of unregistered businesses in its Business Population Estimates for the UK and Regions publication.
The information held on the IDBR
Address including postcode
Standard Industrial Classification ( UK SIC 2007 and UK SIC 2003)
Employment and employees
Legal status (company, sole proprietor, partnership, public corporation/nationalised body, local authority or non-profit body)
Enterprise group links
Country of ownership
Business classifications on the IDBR
The IDBR uses the 2007 revision to the Standard Industrial Classification (UK SIC 2007) in place of the 2003 revision (UK SIC 2003). The UK SIC 2007 is a major revision of UK SIC 2003 with changes at all levels of the classification. These revisions are motivated by the need to adapt the classifications to changes in the world economy. The revised classifications reflect the growing importance of service activities in the economy over the last fifteen years, mainly due to the developments in information and communication technologies (ICT).
Details of the UK SIC 2007 are available on the National Statistics Classification website and in the following electronic publications:
UK Standard Industrial Classification of Economic Activities 2007
Indexes to the UK Standard Industrial Classification of Economic Activities 2007
The IDBR holds data from a range of sources that may have their own systems for coding business activity. A coding tool, Automated Classification Text Recognition (ACTR), assigns SIC codes from descriptions provided by businesses.
PAYE employer information from HMRC provides Standard Trade Classifications ( STC) in the form of 4-digit Trade Classification Numbers (TCN). These are converted to UK SIC 2007 and UK SIC 2003 codes.
VAT trader data from HMRC provide UK SIC 2007 codes.
Survey responses, either based on products or business descriptions, are converted to UK SIC 2007 codes using ACTR which allocate a bridging code to link to SIC codes.
Turnover information on the IDBR
VAT turnover from HMRC is updated annually. Reporting unit turnover may be updated from survey information. Where a unit’s turnover is unknown it will be calculated using turnover per head ratios which are calculated for each industry on an annual basis.
Employment information on the IDBR
Employees - paid full and part time workers at each local unit in the enterprise.
Employment - the employees plus any working proprietors (owners directly involved in the business). Working proprietors are usually 0 for a company, 1 for a sole proprietor or 2 or more for a partnership.
PAYE jobs - the jobs figure is the average of four quarters, based on quarterly updates from HMRC.
Information held on the IDBR
All the data on the IDBR are treated as RESTRICTED COMMERCIAL and are protected by the Code of Practice for Official Statistics and by specific legislation.
Who are the main users of the IDBR?
Department for Business Innovation & Skills
Department of Finance and Personnel, Northern Ireland
Department for Environment, Food And Rural Affairs
Health and Safety Executive
HM Revenue & Customs
Office for National Statistics
Welsh Assembly Government
Users and their usage of IDBR information (215.5 Kb Word document)
Who else can use the IDBR?
Central Government - access to information for surveys and analysis.
Local Authorities and other government bodies - access to some disclosive data.
Government Contractors - Information for surveys and analysis as specified in their contracts.
General public - Access to analyses provided they are not disclosive.
What data is available from the IDBR?
1. The annual publication "UK Business: Activity, Size and Location" provides a size analysis of UK businesses and is available free for 1995 onwards.
2. Datasets by low level geography Middle Layer - Super Output Area (MSOA) are available free of charge for download from the Neighbourhood Statistics website.
3. The IDBR Data Analysis Service provides a bespoke analysis service tailored to users’ needs, for both confidential and public release data. For additional information please refer to: Standard Analysis from the IDBR – Non-disclosive data.
4. Disclosive data can be released to authorised outside bodies and contractors working for government departments. All requests for disclosive data will be reviewed by the ONS Micro Data Release Panel (MRP). For additional information please refer to: Standard Analysis from the IDBR – Disclosive data.
5. Local Authorities within the meaning of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 can have access to disclosive data for their areas for planning and training purposes. For further details please refer to: Standard Analysis from the IDBR – Local Authorities.
How do I obtain data?
For information relating to the IDBR Bespoke Analysis Service please contact: +44 (0) 1633 456902 or email: IDBRDAS@ons.gov.uk
For general queries relating to IDBR please contact +44 (0) 1633 455200 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org