Creating a register

How you can work with Government Digital Service (GDS) to create a register.

Registers are live lists of data managed by one custodian from the government organisation responsible for maintaining the register’s data. Creating a register means that the list of data becomes easier for other parts of government to find and use.

There are 4 steps involved in creating a register.

You’ll need to request a register first. If your request is accepted, you’ll work with GDS to:

  • define what data will be included in the register
  • build the register
  • publish the register

Requesting a register

To get started, check that your data meets the criteria to become a register:

  • it doesn’t include any personal data
  • it must be raw data (not derived data or statistics)
  • it is or can be published openly
  • it isn’t already used in an existing register

If your organisation meets the criteria and owns the data, you can request a register. If you don’t have the data but want to suggest a register get in touch with the team.

To learn more about the unique characteristics of a GOV.UK register, read our blog.

1. Make your request

Contact the registers team at GDS to request a register.

You’ll need to:

  • provide a short description for your data
  • suggest a name for the register
  • tell us which organisation owns the data

2. The register is accepted

GDS will look at your request to make sure your suggested register:

  • meets a valid user need
  • is being managed by the right organisation

3. Agree a custodian

Your organisation must choose one person to keep the register up-to-date and be seen as its custodian.

The custodian must confirm to GDS that they’re happy to manage the register and have their name published alongside it.

Defining the register

Based on the needs of your users, you’ll decide what data will be included in the register and the best way to collect feedback from them. GDS will work with you to shape your register.

4. Agree dataset

We’ll work together to confirm the data and fields for the dataset, and how updates will take place. Also, we’ll discuss how the data from one register might link to another register.

Building the register

Using your organisation’s data, GDS will help the custodian build a draft of the register by reviewing any existing lists. The custodian and GDS will agree how the register will be maintained after it’s been published.

5. Meet GDS standards

The custodian and GDS will agree how the register will be hosted and that it meets the technical standards.

6. Find duplicate lists

GDS and the custodian must find any lists published elsewhere (such as on or GOV.UK) that duplicate or contradict the data in the register.

Publishing the register

The custodian will be able to revise the register before it’s published by GDS. The register will now be ready to use by service teams.

7. Review feedback

The custodian will be able to make changes to the register based on any feedback they or GDS receive from users. GDS will set up the custodian with access to the Manage your registers tool so they can keep their register accurate and up-to-date.

Published 29 July 2016