Information on names, codes and legal status of UK geographic areas
- I'd like a list of names and codes for all the counties in England. Can you help?
- Should I refer to 'Medway' or 'Medway Towns'?
Yes we can! ONS Geography maintain definitive 'names & codes' files for a wide range of UK geographies.
They can be downloaded as csv or dbf files together with metadata, free of charge, from the Names and Codes pages on the website.
If you are interested in seeing how different geographies relate - for example, identifying which counties fall within the South East Region (Former GOR), then our Standard Names and Codes (SNAC) database will provide this.
This is an MS Access file which was produced annually, and can still be downloaded from the ONS website.
The database is easy to use but always relates to a particular year.
For example the current (2010) SNAC is a comprehensive reference source for geographies as at 31 December 2010 but does not reflect subsequent changes.
SNAC only contains the old style coding and not the new 9 character coding.
The Code History Database (CHD) is also a useful place for names and codes listings, as it contains look-ups between the old style coding and the new 9 character coding.
The CHD can be used in conjunction with SNAC, but will eventually replace it.
Whether checking how a particular local authority name is spelt, or verifying an area code, our names & codes files contain both present and historic information.
SNAC (also linked above) provides the definitive area names and codes used by ONS, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Department of Health (DH).
You should use the ONS names and codes where possible as these are the recognised standard for National Statistics, but there may be cases when you need to use the alternatives.
In this particular case the ONS standard name is 'Medway', but 'Medway Towns' is used by DH.