Consultation on the UK's adoption of industrial classification of economic activity

Closed 23 Jan 2024

Opened 31 Oct 2023

Overview

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) would like your views on the next steps for updating UK Standard Industrial Classification (UK SIC) and to understand how you are using it. We’d like to hear your thoughts on the classification, its structure, and representation of economic activities in the UK. We want to understand how any potential changes in updating the classification framework may impact you in your use of UK SIC. 

Our consultation is asking which international classification framework we should adopt. We are also inviting your views on whether the chosen framework should be further adapted to more specifically reflect the UK economy, and if so at what level. The international revisions of International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC) and Statistical classification of economic activities in the European Community (NACE) have now been completed. This has resulted in the need for a UK SIC revision and our invitation for you to respond to the consultation on the next steps for UK SIC.

Industrial classifications of economic activity are a fundamental component of economic statistics, allowing us to monitor trends in economic performance over time. These statistics are vital for informing economic policy.

The consultation document explains how the current UK economic classification system, UK SIC, aligns with our International and European counterparts, ISIC and NACE and how our statistics remain internationally comparable.

It also details a range of factors for consideration such as governance, granularity and comparability, correlation, and the UK economy representation.

For more information on the consultation and to view the questionnaire in full before submitting your response, please view the accompanying 'Consultation Document and Questionnaire'. A 'Frequently asked questions' document is also available to view.

Why we are consulting

Currently, the UK is adopting the European NACE with an added level of granularity to better represent the UK’s economy. However, as a result of the UK’s exit from the EU, the UK SIC is no longer legally required to remain aligned with NACE beyond the two-digit level and its associated alignment to ISIC at that same level.

Following the recent revisions of both the ISIC and NACE frameworks, we are asking users to consider: 

  • which international classification framework the UK should adopt
  • to what level of alignment the UK should adopt this preference
  • whether the additional UK disaggregation to five digit sub-class level should continue
  • how different options could impact current users of the classification framework 

Please note that since the launch of the consultation and following our request, United Nations Statistics Division has now shared the ISIC Rev. 5 spreadsheet with the ONS. This is draft and subject to change. Eurostat has now also made an Excel version of NACE Rev. 2.1 available on their website.

Further detail on UK SIC

For users who would like more details about UK SIC classifications, or have been asked to supply their SIC code to any third party, we suggest looking at our current UK SIC webpages.

Who should take part 

This public consultation is aimed primarily at statistical users. It is therefore assumed that those users are likely to understand how each of the presented options could affect their current and future use for the production of statistics.

The consultation is also open to wider users from across the UK. This allows us to gather a broader set of opinions and better understand what impacts or challenges may result from any change to the current UK SIC.

How to take part 

Please read our consultation paper before completing the questionnaire. This can be found on the link at the bottom of this page. This will give you all the information necessary to make an informed decision. All responses need to be in before 11.59pm on Tuesday 23 January 2024.

When you start the questionnaire, please answer all the questions and provide as much detail as you can.

If you have any questions or queries about the consultation, please contact the ONS Classification team for help or further information at sic.consultation@ons.gov.uk.

Events

We are holding two events on 11 and 16 January 2024. This is an opportunity to further discuss the proposals in the consultation, and for you to ask any questions you may have. Further details can be found at the bottom of this page, and you can register to attend on EventbriteYou can view recordings of the previous webinars we held on 14 November and 16 November.

Your contribution is very much welcomed. Thank you for taking part.

Events

  • The UK Adoption of Industrial Classification of Economic Activity

    From 11 Jan 2024 at 14:00 to 11 Jan 2024 at 15:00

    Register on Eventbrite (link in Overview) to join the Classifications team at the ONS to find out more about the different classification frameworks and levels. There will also be an opportunity to pose questions you may have ahead of completing the consultation.

  • The UK Adoption of Industrial Classification of Economic Activity

    From 16 Jan 2024 at 11:00 to 16 Jan 2024 at 12:00

    Register on Eventbrite (link in Overview) to join the Classifications team at the ONS to find out more about the different classification frameworks and levels. There will also be an opportunity to pose questions you may have ahead of completing the consultation.

Audiences

  • Analysts
  • Academics
  • Businesses
  • Economists
  • Government
  • Local government
  • Operational managers
  • Policy managers
  • Politicians
  • Researchers
  • Statisticians
  • Think tanks

Interests

  • Business
  • Economy
  • Labour market
  • Statistics
  • Data
  • Formal consultations