The IDBR is a business register maintained by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and updated using VAT records, PAYE information and ONS surveys. It contains 2.1 million enterprises covering 99% of all UK economic activities. It is widely acknowledged to be the most comprehensive and up-to-date business register available.
The IDBR records the employers name, address, industry (SIC), turnover and employment. Information about telephone numbers is not very good. However, through automated matching (which would need to be done by the survey contractors) 80% of business telephone numbers can be found. If you are planning a telephone survey, use of over-sampling will enable you to allow for the 20% unmatched records.
If you use the best register to draw your sample, your results will be more representative and can be reliably assumed to apply to the entire target population.
The easiest way to draw a sample from the IDBR is to go through the Survey Control Liaison team. The process to follow is:
Please note that the SCLO team will retain a list of all the companies in your sample so that we have a central record of all companies being surveyed by HSE at any one time.
There will be some special cases where the IDBR is not the best register. For example, in the construction sector, we have our own Form 10 register. Similarly, in offshore safety where there are a limited number of companies operating, our own records are likely to be more useful.
However, any survey looking to draw from a range of industries would benefit from using the IDBR as a base.
For more information or advice contact the SCLO