It’s now easier to create custom areas based on postcodes in Local Insight

You can now create more bespoke areas in Local Insight using the enhanced custom areas based on the postcodes functionality.

The 3 main improvements are…

1) You can now create custom areas based on any postcode within England, not just postcodes in your service list.

2) You can see the boundary line around your custom area so that it is clear where data for that area derives from.

3) Your postcodes are validated on import so you can be sure they are accurate.

Create custom areas based on any postcode

Historically you could only create custom areas from postcodes that were already uploaded in your group’s service list. This limited the areas that you could create. 

Now you can create custom areas from any postcode within England, regardless of whether those postcodes are in your service list.

Need to see data for a very small community?

  • Create an area based on one or two local postcodes. 

Run a service accessed by thousands of people?

  • Create an area by uploading the postcodes of the people who use your service. This allows you to create a non-contiguous area made up of potentially thousands of postcodes.

See the boundary line around your custom area

Previously, custom areas based on postcodes displayed as postcode markers on the map. Now the areas display with clear boundary lines around the constituent regions covered. Data is still created for these areas in the same way, more on that below, but now you can see a more accurate depiction of the area you have created on the map. 

The image on the left shows how postcode areas previously displayed on the map. The image on the right shows how the same postcode area now displays on the map.

How Local Insight calculates data for custom areas based on postcodes

Local Insight identifies all the Output Areas (OAs) covered by the uploaded postcodes and then calculates the data based on those component OAs. Local Insight then apportions data for that collection of OAs and their value is the value for your custom areas.

Not sure what Output Areas are? 

Output Areas (OA) are standard areas that were primarily designed for the publication of the Census. They are fairly homogeneous in terms of population size – ranging from 40 to 250 households. The number of postcodes per OA is always changing as new postcodes are added. There are roughly 11 postcodes per OA and no single postcode will cover multiple OAs.

Read more about how data is calculated for different area types.

Please note: Your existing areas created using postcodes have been updated to display in the new format. 

Some historic areas created based on service postcodes may no longer show anything on the map. This is because the service postcodes used to originally create the area were deleted from the service list. You will need to create these areas again. We can do this for you, if you email us on with a list of the areas. Going forward this issue will no longer happen as the services feature has been decoupled from the postcode area feature.

Postcodes validated on import

When creating areas based on postcodes you can either paste in a list of postcodes or upload a CSV.

In both methods, Local Insight checks the postcodes to ensure that they are valid. If there are invalid postcodes (e.g typos, postcodes from other countries), you will see an error message detailing the rows that have invalid postcodes. You can then go back edit those postcodes and reupload.

Reminder of how to create custom areas…

To create a custom area you must have Power User or Group Admin access.

Read our Help Centre article on how to create custom areas based on postcodes.

Get in touch!

If you have any questions or feedback then get in touch with us on or call us 01273 810270.