In order to make conclusions, these observations need to be grouped or 'classified'.
A classification assigns items to categories according to shared characteristics and it provides a framework for the description and comparison of statistics.
Classifications facilitate the accurate and systematic arrangement of data according to common properties so that the resulting statistics can be easily reproduced and compared over time as well as between different sources.
Classification is thus an essential part of statistics, and standard classifications are key instruments of official statistics.
One of the key principles of the National Statistics Code of Practice and Protocol on Statistical Integration is the promotion and use of common statistical frames, definitions and classifications.
In the United Kingdom, three widely-used standard classifications are the:
- Standard Industrial Classification (SIC)
- Standard Occupational Classification (SOC)
- National Statistics Socio-economic Classification (NS-SEC)
Many other classifications are used throughout National Statistics.
Some have been developed by individual or groups of Government Departments while others have been taken directly from European or international use.
The Industrial Classifications Branch maintains and promotes the Standard Industrial Classification. The unit runs a help desk to provide advice and guidance to customers. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Occupational Information Unit maintains and promotes the Standard Occupational Classification and the National Statistics Socio-economic Classification. The unit runs a help desk to provide advice and guidance to customers. For more information, please contact email@example.com