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The Administrative Data Research Network is an ESRC-funded project that ran from October 2013 - July 2018. It is currently at the end of its funding cycle and is no longer taking applications. Administrative data research will be taken forward in a new project, to be launched later in 2018.

Inter-Departmental Business Register, 1994/95-

Title Details

SN:
888049
Title:
Inter-Departmental Business Register, 1994/95-
Principal investigator(s):
Office for National Statistics
Data collector(s):
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, Companies House, Office for National Statistics, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment – Northern Ireland and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs farms register.

Subject Categories

  • Business Structure Database - Major studies

Abstract

  • Abstract copyright ADRN.

    The Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) is a comprehensive dataset of UK businesses which covers 99 percent of UK economic activity, holding records of approximately 2.1 million businesses. The IDBS does not cover very small businesses without VAT or PAYE schemes (i.e. self-employed and those with low turnover and without employees) and some non-profit making organisations. The number of these businesses in the UK is estimated to be at 2.3 million. The dataset also includes business with international operations or whose head office might be abroad. The data is available from 1994/95 onwards.

    The register is compiled from the following sources:

    • Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) data on businesses registered for Value Added Tax (VAT) and employers operating a Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax system for their employees.
    • Companies House which provides information on incorporated businesses.
    • Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey data and survey information from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment – Northern Ireland (DETINI) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) farms register.

    The register includes information on business name, address, standard industrial classification, employment and employees, turnover, legal status and company number. Intrastate data on the value of goods and services that are traded (imports and exports) between the EU member states and the UK are also included. The dataset also includes foreign ownership codes and additional geographical variables such as parliamentary constituency and travel to work area.

    The IDBR complies with European Union regulation 2186/93 on harmonisation of business registers for statistical purposes and is protected by the National Statistics Code of Practice and by the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007. The IDBR is mainly used by the ONS, government departments and local authorities as a sampling frame, or to update and expand previously conducted surveys. An annual publication providing a size analysis of UK businesses is available free on the National Statistics website for years from 1995 to 2013. Other analyses of IDBR data are available on the Neighbourhood Statistics and Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform websites.

    The details collected in the IDBR are maintained in two separate databases. One is known as ‘reporting units’, and this is for the head office or sole site of a business. The second is known as ‘enterprise units’ or ‘local units’ which are the local offices, plants or sites owned by the reporting unit. The two databases can be linked using the reporting unit reference number.

    The Inter-Departmental Business Register is large and so a time lag exists between businesses opening and being added or removed. Defunct businesses are generally slower to be removed from the register than when new businesses are added.

    Please note that re-classification of an industry or enterprise can occur as a result of a relatively small change in the nature of its operations, and this can have significant knock-on effects on industrial estimates produced by surveys using the IDBR for sampling.

    It is also important to note that because the IDBR is a live database, with fixed extracts being taken annually then historical or longitudinal analyses can prove difficult. Major events in the ‘lifetime’ of a business (e.g. mergers, bankruptcies, etc.) may not be reliably captured by either extracts taken from the live IDBR or from the annual ‘cuts’ of data. Small businesses, not registered for VAT, will also be under-represented in the IDBR.

    The IDBR is a dynamic live register and is updated on a daily basis. Fixed extracts are taken in March and populate the Business Structure Database (BSD). This dataset is an annual snapshot of the IDBR and is available through the Office for National Statistics’ Virtual Micro Laboratory. This linked, longitudinal derivative of the IDBR is employed to produce summary statistics which are usually published the following September on the National Statistics website.

    Research Usage and Linkage

    The Inter-Departmental Business Register enables Government and Local Authorities to conduct efficient and cost effective surveys/samples with minimum burden on businesses. It is used for labour market statistics and national accounts, as well as providing information on the structure of the economy (for example, business births and deaths) and monitoring targets. It also enables analyses of business activity and provides the information used to identify business to be included or have not responded to surveys and samples.

    The Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) is made up of two separate databases; one for business head offices and the other for local offices. These are linked using a unique reference number. If a business continues to trade then data could be linked longitudinally. In theory, IDBR could be linked to HMRC employee or taxpayer records through PAYE reference numbers but this has not been done to date.

    The UK Data Service holds the following IDBR-related data:

    SN 6697 Business Structure Database: Secure Access (BSD)

    The BSD is derived primarily from the IDBR, complimented with data from ONS business surveys.

    SN 7463 Business Register and Employment Survey, 2009-2013: Secure Access (BRES)

    The BRES is the official source of employee and employment estimates by detailed geography and industry. It is also used to update the IDBR.


Coverage, universe, methodology

Time period:
1994/95-
Country:
UK
Observation units:
Institutions/organisations
Kind of data:
Individual (micro) level
Universe:
Cross-national
All business in the UK since 1994/95 with the exception of very small businesses without VAT or PAYE schemes (self employed and those with low turnover and without employees) and some non-profit making organisations. It includes business with international operations or whose head office might be abroad.

Time dimensions:
Repeated cross-sectional study
Sampling procedures:
No sampling (total universe)
Number of units:
Over 2 million records per year
Method of data collection:

Compilation or synthesis of existing material and Survey Data

The register is compiled from the following sources:

  • Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) data on businesses registered for Value Added Tax (VAT) and employers operating a Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax system for their employees.
  • Companies House which provides information on incorporated businesses.
  • ONS survey data and survey information from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment – Northern Ireland (DETINI) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) farms register.

Frequency of release:
Live database
Data Updated:
Daily

Administrative and access information

Copyright:
Crown copyright
Access conditions:
ADRN
Availability:
Contact the Network

Documentation

Title File Name Size (KB)
User Guide 888049_idbr-onsreview_0_0.pdf 23506
User Guide 888049_idbr_uses2007.pdf 90
READ File read888049.txt 3

Publications

By principal investigator(s):

  • ONS (2001) Review of the Inter-Departmental Business Register, ONS.
  • ONS (2013) UK Business: Activity Size and Location, ONS.

Resulting from secondary analysis:

  • Smith, P. (2001) 'Evaluating frame coverage and activity of micro businesses in sawmilling in the UK'.
  • Smith, A., McKay, S. (2002) Employers' Pension Provision 2000, Department for Work and Pension.
  • Galindo-Rueda, F., Pereira, S. (2004) The Impact of the National Minimum Wage on British Firms.
  • Purdon, S., O'Connor, W. (2008) Methodological Review of Research with Large Businesses., HMRC.
  • Bewley, H., Forth, J. (2010) Employers' attitudes and likely reactions to the workplace pension reforms 2009: Report of a quantitative survey, Department for Work and Pension.
  • Forth, J., Stokes, L., Fitzpatrick, A., Grant, C. (2012) Employers' Pension Provision Survey 2011, Department for Work and Pension.


Page last updated: 20/09/2017