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GDS registers team calls for custodians



Registers Design Authority identifies areas for new definitive lists as part of public sector data infrastructure

The team leading the work on open registers across government has called for people to step forward from a range of sectors to take up the role of custodians of the relevant registers.

The Registers Design Authority (RDA) has flagged up the need for officials to take responsibility for registers, not just for central government organisations and services, but for local authorities and other areas including police forces, fire authorities, schools, clinical commissioning groups, job centres and types of industry and occupation.

It is aiming to establish at least 10 registers in public beta phase in the course of next year.

The move is a significant element in the upgrading of public sector data infrastructure, which includes the development of an ecosystem of linked registers. These will act as definitive registers of specific types of information held by public authorities, aimed at preventing the proliferation of lists and problems caused by inconsistencies in the data.

The Foreign Office took the lead earlier in the year with the creation of the Country Register, and the Department for Communities and Local Government has been building a register of English local authorities. The RDA, which is part of the data team in the Government Digital Service, is leading the work on the relevant standards for registers and encouraging other organisations to set them up.


blogpost from the DRA says its work so far has shown that a number of organisations are now linking to the Country Register on GOV.UK, but for them to work they need someone to be clearly responsible for the creation and overseeing of the core data.

With this in mind, it says there should be a hard rule that a register cannot be taken into its alpha phase without a custodian in place.

This has prompted its call for people to take up the roles of custodians in the different areas, saying this will help to scale up the progress. These will include separate registers of local authorities for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The RDA also acknowledges a risk that slow progress on one register could block the activation of another. This has prompted the advice that it is permissible for a register in beta to reference another emerging register, as long as it uses a stable, open identifier that is already used inside and outside government.

This is in line with the Government’s Open Standards Principles for digital services.

Image: The RDA’s view of the emergent register ecosystem, from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0


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