UK Data Service data catalogue record for:

Business Register and Employment Survey, 2009-2016: Secure Access

Title details

SN: 7463
Title: Business Register and Employment Survey, 2009-2016: Secure Access
Alternative title: BRES
Persistent identifier: 10.5255/UKDA-SN-7463-6
Depositor: Office for National Statistics
Principal investigator(s): Office for National Statistics
Data collector(s): Office for National Statistics
Sponsor(s): Office for National Statistics


The citation for this study is:

Office for National Statistics. (2017). Business Register and Employment Survey, 2009-2016: Secure Access. [data collection]. 6th Edition. UK Data Service. SN: 7463,

Select the text above to add data citation in your outputs.

Select citation format: 
XML citation formats:  CSL  EndNote

Subject Categories

Economic conditions and indicators - Economics
General - Employment and labour


Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.

The Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES) is the official source of employee and employment estimates by detailed geography and industry. It is also used to update the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR), the main sampling frame for business surveys conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), with information on the structure of businesses in the UK.

The survey collects employment information from businesses across the whole of the UK economy for each site that they operate. This allows the ONS to produce employee and employment estimates by detailed geography and industry split by full-time/part-time workers and whether the business is public/private.

The ONS produces a number of different measures of employment including Workforce Jobs and the Annual Population Survey/Labour Force Survey. However, BRES is the recommended source of information on employment by detailed geography and industry.

The BRES has two purposes: collecting data to update local unit information and business structures on the IDBR, and producing published annual employment statistics.

The BRES sample does not include Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland data are received direct from the Northern Ireland Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETINI) which are used to create UK estimates. The UK Data Archive holds data only for Great Britain.

The BRES replaced the Annual Business Inquiry, Part 1 (ABI/1) in 2009. ABI/1 data for 2009 and earlier are held as part of the Annual Respondents Database under UK Data Archive SN 6644.

Change in sampling from 2015-2016
In 2015, ONS made a strategic decision to include business units with a single PAYE code for which VAT data are available. Prior to 2015, such units were excluded from the sampling frame and therefore not estimated for in ONS outputs. So from January 2016, the coverage of BRES was extended to include a population of solely PAYE based businesses. This improvement in coverage is estimated to have increased the business survey population by around 100,000 businesses, with a total of around 300,000 employment and 200,000 employees between December 2015 and January 2016. The increase in business population has led to an increase in the estimate of employment and employees for the 2015 dataset. Further information is available in documentation file '7463_bres_2015_change_in_firm_sampling.pdf'.

Linking to other business studies
These data contain Inter-Departmental Business Register reference numbers. These are anonymous but unique reference numbers assigned to business organisations. Their inclusion allows researchers to combine different business survey sources together. Researchers may consider applying for other business data to assist their research.

For the sixth edition (November 2017), the 'revised 2015' and 'provisional 2016' data files have been added. Two 'revised 2015' data files have been deposited due to a change in sampling from 2015 onwards. Further information is available in documentation file '7463_bres_2015_change_in_firm_sampling.pdf'.

Main Topics:
The BRES data files include the following variables:
  • employment and employees, including totals, full/part time, weighted and year-average estimates
  • total working owners
  • legal status and public/private sector variables
  • geographical variables down to postcode level
  • Standard Industrial Classification codes 2003, 2007
  • urban-rural indicators

Coverage, universe, methodology

Time period: 2009 - 2016
Country: Great Britain
Spatial units: Government Office Regions
Output Areas
Westminster Parliamentary Constituencies
Postcode (Unit)
NUTS-I Areas
Local Authority Districts
Wards (Census Area Statistics)
Super Output Areas (Lower Layer)
Super Output Areas (Middle Layer)
Travel to Work Areas
Rural-Urban Indicators
Observation units: Institutions/organisations
Kind of data: Alpha/numeric data
Individual (micro) level
Universe: National
Businesses in Great Britain registered for VAT and/or PAYE in 2009-2016.
Time dimensions: Repeated cross-sectional study
Sampling procedures: One-stage stratified or systematic random sample
strata are defined as SIC 2007, country, and employment size of a business
Number of units: Over 2 million records, including approximately 80,000 sampled businesses covering approximately 500,000 sampled local units
Method of data collection: Postal survey
Weighting: Weighting used. See documentation for details

Thesaurus search on keywords

Administrative and access information

Date of release:
First edition: 17 February 2014
Latest edition: 30 November 2017 (6th Edition)
Copyright: Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland
Access conditions: Registration is required and standard conditions of use apply. The depositor may be informed about usage. Controlled data requirements and conditions also apply. Further information is available from Access Secure Lab.

In addition, the Service is required to request explicit permission from the data owner prior to providing the researcher with access to the data

Please note:
Since these data are more sensitive and/or pose a higher risk of disclosure than data made available under the standard End User Licence, they are not available for download but may be accessed through our Secure Lab. Access requires: ONS Accredited Researcher status (including the requirement to attend and pass the Safe User of Research data Environments (SURE) training course); submission of a project proposal; and completion of a Secure Access User Agreement. This is to ensure that the guarantee of confidentiality given to survey respondents is protected. Users are required to read and follow the Microdata Handling and Security: Guide to Good Practice.

To apply for access, users should use the Download/Order link on this page and will be directed to the relevant forms as part of the ordering process.

Availability: UK Data Service
Contact: Get in touch


Title File Name Size (KB)
Variable Catalogue 2009 to 2014 variable_catalogue_2009_2014.xlsx 14
News Article: BRES Quality Measure, 2013 7463_article_quality_measure_2013.pdf 133
2015 Change in Firm Sampling Information 7463_bres_2015_change_in_firm_sampling.pdf 222
Frequently Asked Questions, 2013 7463_bres_faq_2013.pdf 1003
Information for BRES Practitioners, 2014 7463_bres_info_for_practitioners_2014.pdf 140
Quality and Methodology Information Papers: 2012-2015 7463_bres_info_papers_2012_to_2015.pdf 837
Questionnaires 2011 7463_bres_questionnaires_2011.pdf 453
Questionnaires 2012 7463_bres_questionnaires_2012.pdf 453
Questionnaires 2013 7463_bres_questionnaires_2013.pdf 452
Questionnaires 2014 7463_bres_questionnaires_2014.pdf 464
Questionnaire 2010 7463_bres_questionnaire_2010.pdf 311
User Guide 7463_bres_user_guide.pdf 2368
VML Notes on the Data 7463_bres_vml_notes.pdf 294
Annual Estimates of Employees, 2014 7463_statistical_bulletin_2014.pdf 1696
UK Data Archive Data Dictionary 7463_ukda_data_dictionary.pdf 481
Study information and citation UKDA_Study_7463_Information.htm 6
READ File read7463.htm 12


View publications... Hide publications...

By principal investigator(s):

Resulting from secondary analysis:


No previously uploaded files

  (login required)

Upload syntax/code file

Business Register and Employment Survey, 2009-2016: Secure Access

I agree to the terms and conditions *

Confirm new syntax/code file version

A previous version of syntax file "" has already been uploaded and approved.

If you continue with this upload, the previous version of the syntax file will be overwritten with this new version.

This new version of the syntax file will be subject to the UK Data Service approval process before it becomes available for download.

Do you want to continue?


Back to top