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Cancer network

The NHS Cancer Plan (2000) established cancer networks as the organisational model that would bring about change and address the cancer plan agenda. Cancer networks bring together providers (organisations that provide services) and commissioners (organisations that plan, purchase and monitor services), to work collaboratively as a system, to plan and deliver high quality cancer services for a given population.

Education authority

Local Education Authorities (LEAs) are responsible for the local administration of state sector education services in England and Wales. They are based on complete local authorities.

Electorial wards/division

Electoral wards are the base unit of UK administrative geography, being the areas from which local authority councillors are elected. They are commonly referred to just as 'wards'. Electoral wards are found across Scotland, Northern Ireland and most of England, whereas the equivalents in Wales and the Isle of Wight are known as electoral divisions.


Government Office Regions (GORs) are the primary statistical subdivisions of England and also the areas in which the Government Offices for the Regions fulfil their role. Each GOR covers a number of local authorities. There are nine GORs


Health Authorities (HAs) were the intermediate level of health administration in England prior to the NHS restructuring in April 2002. There were 95 HAs at the time of abolition, reporting to the 8 NHS Regional Offices. They generally covered groups of one or more complete local authorities, but there were cases where local authorities were split.

Metropolitan Council Districts

The 36 metropolitan districts are subdivisions of the 6 metropolitan county areas of England. Since the abolition of the metropolitan county councils in 1986 the metropolitan district councils have been unitary administrations.

NHS care trusts

Care trusts (CTs) are organisations that work in both health and social care. They may carry out a range of services, including social care, mental health services or primary care services.


Parishes are subdivisions of local authorities in many parts of England, and their councils are the most local level of government. Parishes are not found in all parts of England, they are predominantly found in more rural areas.


Primary Care Organisations (PCOs) is a generic term including English Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and Care Trusts (CTs) based on the PCT model. It also incorporates the former English Primary Care Groups (PCGs)


Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) are a local unit of health administration in England and since the reorganisation of English health geography on 1 April 2002 have reported to the Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs).

Police Force Area

There are 43 police force areas in England and Wales, each covering one or more complete local authorities. Scotland has 8 police force areas, each covering one or more council areas. Northern Ireland is covered by one police force.


Strategic health authorities manage the NHS locally and are a key link between the Department of Health and the NHS. The 10 Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) were created in July 2006, following restructuring of the 28 SHAs originally established in April 2002. The boundaries of the new SHAs are coterminous with Government Office Regions (GORs), with the exception of the South East GOR which comprises two SHAs (which are constituted from groups of local authorities).

Statistical ward

Statistical wards are a variant form of electoral ward/division; they were introduced across National Statistics in order to minimise the statistical impact of frequent electoral ward/division boundary changes. The policy was amended in 2006, and statistical wards are no longer produced.

Super Output Area

Super Output Areas (SOAs) are small areas specifically introduced to improve the reporting and comparison of local statistics. Within England and Wales there is a Lower Layer (minimum population 1000) and a Middle Layer (minimum population 5000). SOA layers are of consistent size across the country and are not subjected to regular boundary change.

Unitary Authorities

Unitary authorities (UAs) are areas with a single tier of local government (as opposed to the two-tier county:district structure). In practice the term is only applied to the 22 UAs established across the whole of Wales in 1996, and the 46 UAs established in parts of England between 1995 and 1998. However, London boroughs and metropolitan districts in England, council areas in Scotland and district council areas in Northern Ireland are all also served by single-tier (unitary) administrations.

Westminster Parliamentary Constituency

Westminster parliamentary constituencies cover the whole of the UK and are used to elect members to the UK Parliament in Westminster, London.