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GDS aims for register ecosystem

14/03/16

New Register Design Authority will take lead on work to ensure lists interconnect as part of government data infrastructure

The Government Digital Service (GDS) has pushed its work on registers a step further with the setting up of a Register Design Authority (RDA) within its data group.

ListIt hopes it will be a stage in the evolution of an ecosystem of linked registers, which will provide authoritative lists as part of the effort to build a more effective data infrastructure for government.

A Government as a Platform blogpost by Ade Adewunmi, digital strategy advisor at GDS, says the prime task of the RDA will be to make sure that registers used in government accurately reflect the way its data interconnects, and that it will have domain control of register.gov.uk.

One of its priorities will be to prevent any confusing replication of data to ensure the registers are trustworthy.

This has been identified as a significant issue for government in making more efficient of use of its data. The Foreign Office took the lead last month in releasing a definitive register of country names for all of government to use in place of the widely varying, and sometimes contradictory, lists that have been developed by different departments.

Place in system

Adewunmi says the team will look at where a new register sits within the linked ecosystem, and points out that it will not support the creation of a new list where a reliable one is already available – such as in the case of the country register.

It will also provide some guidance on which one of conflicting registers should be accepted as the norm; and if it is not obvious the question will be pushed up to the Data Leaders Network.

“We want registers to work across government, and not just for a single service or organisation,” she says. “That’s why the team needs to spend time working with the custodian and services, to ensure that the data in the register can be kept as accurate and as up to date as possible.

“Users need to be confident about these things and have the appropriate access tools, for the data held in registers to be considered good enough to build services.”

Image by Jaksmata, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

 

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