UK Data Service data catalogue record for:

Annual Respondents Database X, 1998-2014: Secure Access

Title details

SN: 7989
Title: Annual Respondents Database X, 1998-2014: Secure Access
Alternative title: ARDx
Persistent identifier: 10.5255/UKDA-SN-7989-4
Depositor: Office for National Statistics. Virtual Microdata Laboratory (VML)
Principal investigator(s): Office for National Statistics. Virtual Microdata Laboratory (VML)
University of the West of England, Bristol
Original data producer(s): Office for National Statistics
Sponsor(s): Office for National Statistics


The citation for this study is:

Office for National Statistics. Virtual Microdata Laboratory (VML), University of the West of England, Bristol. (2017). Annual Respondents Database X, 1998-2014: Secure Access. [data collection]. 4th Edition. Office for National Statistics, [original data producer(s)]. UK Data Service. SN: 7989,

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

Select citation format: 
XML citation formats:  CSL  EndNote

Subject Categories

Income, property and investment - Economics


Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.

The Annual Respondents Database X (ARDx) has been created by researchers at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Virtual Microdata Laboratory (VML) and the University of the West of England to allow users of Annual Respondents Database (ARD) (held at the UK Data Archive under SN 6644) to continue analysis even though the Annual Business Inquiry (ABI) which was used to create ARD ceased in 2008. ARDx contains harmonised variables from 1998 to 2014.

The basic unit of production of any business is the local unit (LU), or establishment. However, the data for ARDx are collected and organised at the reporting unit (RU) level; this reflects the smallest collection of local units able to provide the financial information required. In most cases, these will be LUs carrying out the same activity. Around 95 per cent of the RUs in the ONS data have only one LU i.e. they are single-site businesses.

ARDx is created from two ONS surveys, the Annual Business Inquiry (ABI; 1998-2008, held at the UK Data Archive under SN 6644) and the Annual Business Survey (ABS; 2009 onwards, held at the UK Data Archive under SN 7451). The ABI has an employment survey (ABI1) and a second survey for financial information (ABI2). ABS only collects financial data, and so is supplemented with employment data from the Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES; 2009 onwards, held at the UK Data Archive under SN 7463).

ARDx consists of two types of files: 'respondent files' which have reported and derived information from survey questionnaire responses; and 'universe files' which contain limited information on all business that are within scope of the ABI/ABS. There is also a 'register panel' containing all RUs observed over the period in one file. Users are advised to consult the documentation for further information.

Linking to other business studies
These data contain Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) 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 fourth edition (April 2017), ARD X Version 3.3 data for 1998-2015 have been added. This replaces the Version 3.2 data however the code from the previous version remains and should be used with caution.

Version 3.3 has been withdrawn in January 2018 due to data issues. Therefore, only version 3.2 (including the years 1998-2014) is available to users.

Note to users
Due to the limited nature of the documentation available for ARDx, users are advised to consult the documentation for the Annual Business Survey (UK Data Archive SN 7451) for detailed information about the data.

Main Topics:
The variables included in ARDx are of three different types:
  • IDBR-based information about the reporting unit, such as ownership, type of business,
    employment or turnover from tax records, and weights
  • respondent data, indicated by 'wq' followed by a question number e.g. wq100
  • employment data, beginning 'empt' or 'empe_' depending on whether employment or employee data

Coverage, universe, methodology

Time period: 1998 - 2015
Country: Great Britain
Spatial units: Wards (Electoral)
Government Office Regions
Westminster Parliamentary Constituencies
Postcode (Unit)
Local Authority Districts
NUTS-I Areas
NUTS-V Areas
Training and Enterprise Councils
Travel to Work Areas
Observation units: Institutions/organisations
Kind of data: Numeric data
Alpha/numeric data
Universe: National
Businesses in Great Britain registered for VAT and/or PAYE in 1998-2015.
Time dimensions: Time Series
Sampling procedures: One-stage stratified or systematic random sample
Number of units: ARDx files contain between 42,000 - 57,000 cases
Method of data collection: Compilation or synthesis of existing material
Weighting: Weighting variable in data. No further information available.
Data sources: ARDx contains data derived from the following surveys:
  • Annual Respondents Database available from the UK Data Archive under SN 6644
  • Annual Business Inquiry available under SN 6644
  • Annual Business Survey available under SN 7451
  • Business Register and Employment Survey available under SN 7463
  • Quarterly Capital Expenditure Survey available under SN 6708
  • Quarterly Stocks Inquiry (not currently available from the UK Data Archive)

Thesaurus search on keywords

Administrative and access information

Date of release:
First edition: 15 June 2016
Latest edition: 05 April 2017 (4th 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)
ARDx Capital Stock User Guide 7989_ardx_capital_stock_userguide.pdf 442
ARDx Capital Stock: Data Manager Guide 7989_ardx_capstock_data_manager_guide.pdf 517
Overview of ARDx Code 7989_ardx_pics_for_guides_v03a.pdf 279
ARDx Draft Guide 7989_ardx_userguide.pdf 326
UK Data Archive Data Dictionary - ARDx Files 7989_ukda_data_dictionary_ardx_files.pdf 1829
UK Data Archive Data Dictionary - LU Files 7989_ukda_data_dictionary_lu_files.pdf 469
UK Data Archive Data Dictionary - RU Files 7989_ukda_data_dictionary_ru_files.pdf 527
Study information and citation UKDA_Study_7989_Information.htm 6
READ File read7989.htm 10


View publications... Hide publications...

By principal investigator(s):

Resulting from secondary analysis:


No previously uploaded files

  (login required)

Upload syntax/code file

Annual Respondents Database X, 1998-2014: 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