1. Aim of this survey
  2. Survey information
  3. How your data are used
  4. Information you will need to complete this survey
  5. Has your business been affected by the coronavirus (COVID19)?
  6. How to complete the survey
  7. If you need help

Aim of this survey

The Monthly Business Survey (MBS) is conducted under the provisions of the Statistics of Trade Act 1947. All the information provided to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is strictly confidential.

We use the MBS data, supplied by businesses, to identify turnover trends and movements within UK businesses in the service sectors and Great Britain businesses within the production sector.

Survey information

On a monthly basis, data from businesses, are collected via our Secure Data Collection (SDC) system. You can find a link to the SDC system in the How to complete this survey section.

A sample of approximately 34,000 businesses contribute to this survey

Dispatch date: the last week of the month

Return-by date: the second week of the month; a specific date will be on the survey

Dispatch and return-by dates are a guide. They are subject to change because of national holidays and weekends.

How your data are used

Your data feed into measures of the economy, such as gross domestic product (GDP), which is used by the government and the Bank of England.

We also produce monthly statistical bulletins detailing the production and service activity from the past month; these include the Index of Production and Index of Services, which are main components of GDP.

The media also use the information to report and publish news articles.

Information you will need to complete this survey

All businesses within the Monthly Business Survey (MBS) will be asked:

  • If your data have changed from the previous month, please provide an explanation in the commentary box; we would be less likely to contact you with any data queries, for example, seasonal business during months x to x.
  • Are you able to report for the period from (start date) to (end date)?
  • What are the dates of the period you will be reporting for?

The majority of businesses will be asked for:

  • value of turnover
  • changes in turnover

For the quarterly months, March, June, September and December, you may be asked for:

  • the number and breakdown of employees

However, depending on the nature of your business activity you maybe asked different questions. To see the full list of questions asked on the MBS, please see the link in the Related downloads section.

Has your business been affected by the coronavirus (COVID19)?

If you have not traded for all or some of the reporting period, then select "yes, you can provide figures" and enter turnover, even if this is "0".

  • Exclude: furlough payments in any turnover figures.
  • Include: furloughed employees in any employment figures.
  • For the question, "Please describe the changes in turnover in more detail", enter any information that will help us understand your situation; we would be less likely to contact you with any data queries if you provide this commentary.

How to complete the questionnaire

We want to work with you so that returning timely and accurate data is as easy as possible.

Your letter explains how to complete this survey online. Please use your unique enrolment code to report your information. 

Start questionnaire

Thank you for completing this survey - your information is important to us.

If you need help

If your question is not answered on this page, you may be able to find the answer on the About ONS business surveys page.

If you are having difficulty providing data via the Secure Data Collection (SDC) system, or need other help:

  • call 0300 1234 931 - please enter the three-digit survey ID 009
  • from outside the UK: +441633 810495
  • er mwyn gwneud cais am ffurflen Gymraeg (to speak to someone in Welsh): 0300 1234 921
  • send a secure message via the SDC system

Please can you provide your reference, business name, and the survey your query relates to in all correspondence.