This page gives an introduction to the way areas are managed in Fingertips and lists in a log the changes to areas, area grouping options and other changes around geographies which are available in Fingertips.

Basic facts for geography management in Fingertips

Area code is key

Each area is identified by an area code. Where available, the 9-digit ONS code is used, however not all NHS organisations do have ONS codes and then ODS codes are applied. The main sources are: and

For certain very specific area types where no official codes are given we created our own Fingertips codes. Area codes are also part of the URL. 

Area names can change

Each area has also a name (label) but this can change over time and only one version is stored. E.g. if the partner in a GP practice whose name used to be part of the practice name retires, the practice may keep the code but change the name). If the area code does not change, the area is in Fingertips-terms the same. The current label will be applied to all instances of the area (code) usage, even if for a past time point the current name is not the previously correct one.

If the code is the same, for Fingertips the area is the same

When in the process of an organisational merger one of the codes is retained and is then applied to a larger entity this can generate misleading time series. We try to address substantial changes with Value notes (asterisk next to the data with explanation on hover over) but there is no guarantee that such a change can be picked up in the data preparation process and a critical awareness of the user is also required.

Management of new area types and areas

We try to make new areas available as quickly as possible but in some situations where an area type is new and not very stable yet we make the decision not to include the areas in Fingertips (yet) or may decide not to follow each (e.g. monthly) change but stick to longer intervals to be able to provide some stability in the data.

Which GP practices are 'valid' for Fingertips is explained in detail in Inclusion rules and list.

Note: indicator owners are not obliged to use the latest geography, so displays can lag behind

The area type plus time period define which areas are listed

For the major geography types that often change annually (in particular: Local Authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs)) a fine-grained network of generations of geographies, specified by the time period when they were current, is set up. The time period (e.g. pre 4/2019) tells users who need this degree of precision exactly which areas are listed, it is not referring to the data and no indication which data periods are on offer. 

Back-filling data for completeness

Due to auto-aggregation and backfill processes we are often able to supply data for entities that were not yet current for a certain data point. E.g. we have values for new Unitary authorities (UA) for times when they were still split into districts because - where there is a valid method and the data is available - we estimate the UA value to be able to provide trend lines.

Change Log (since April 2021)


Release Area type Change Description
May 2023 PCN update EPCN version from April 2023 applied
Mar 2023 Constituencies set up Created as a grouping area type, to meet the requirements of the new tool: GP profiles for patients.
Dec 2022 GP update Annual update of the Inclusion list of GP practices based on QOF 2021/22 and the ADS from April 2022. For details see National GP profiles and the Inclusion list.
Dec 2022 PCN update Update to align Fingertips with the EPCN version from October 2022.
Dec 2022 ICBs, ICB sub locations, NHS regions review, update Initially as 'experimental' introduced areas were reviewed and aligned with the ONS lookup.. The status of ICBs and ICB sub-locations was confirmed and 'experimental'  was removed from the names. NHS regions and the mappings from ICBs and ICB sublocations to them were corrected.
Oct 2022 Census Merged Wards set up Local authorities assigned based on ONS lookup. Area grouping available for three generations of local authorities (19/20, 20/21 and post Apr 21) and regions. 
Sep 2022 CCG deciles set up IMD2019 LSOA scores; mid-2015 population weightings applied to aggregate CCG scores. Decile assignment in line with Technical guidance.
Jun 2022 ICB, ICB sub locations set up Created in line with information provided by ONS and NHS at this point in time. Initially called 'experimental' as some assumptions could not be verified with the available sources.
May 2022 PCN update EPCN version from April 2022 applied
Dec 2021 PCN update EPCN version from October 2021 applied
Dec 2021 GP update Revised list of practices which are ‘current’ in Fingertips. Details on Inclusion list 2021
Jun 2021 PCN update EPCN version from April 2021 applied
May 2021 CCGs (from April 2021) set up latest generation added to reflect mergers valid since April 2021
Apr 2021 Counties & UAs (from April 2021) set up UA North Northamptonshire (former local authorities Corby, East Northamptonshire, Kettering, and Wellingborough combined) and UA West Northamptonshire (former local authorities Daventry, Northampton, South Northamptonshire combined) created; Northamptonshire County taken out
Apr 2021 Districts & UAs (from April 2021) set up Corby, East Northamptonshire, Kettering, and Wellingborough; Daventry, Northampton, and South Northamptonshire were removed and the two new UAs, North and West Northamptonshire were added
Apr 2021 Deprivation deciles (IMD 2019)(4/21 geography) set up The changes in the Upper tier and Lower tier Local authorities (see above) require a new generation of decile allocations to go with them
Apr 2021 MSOA change MSOA to local authority mapping changed to ‘best fit’.