Creating a register
How you can work with Government Digital Service (GDS) to create a register.
Registers can help you keep your organisation’s data up to date and accurate.
You only publish data in one place if you use a register, which means you won’t need to update multiple datasets whenever something changes. This can save time and money for your organisation.
Using a register can also make it easier for you to share your data with other government departments, agencies and service teams.
During this phase, you’ll make a request for a register. If it’s approved, you’ll decide who’s responsible for looking after it.
Once you’ve completed all the steps in this phase, your request will be added to the registers team at GDS’s backlog. It’ll be prioritised among the other requests and moved into the discovery phase when they’re ready to work on it.
1. Request a register
Contact the registers team at GDS to request a register.
You must provide a short description of the data you have. This should be 140 characters or less.
You must suggest a name for the register. This should be a singular noun, such as ‘country’. The name will be included in the URL of the register.
You must also say which organisation owns the data. The person who’ll be responsible for keeping the register up to date will be from this organisation.
2. Register is accepted
GDS will look at your request to make sure your proposed register:
- meets a valid user need
- is being managed by the right organisation
You might be asked for some more information about your data, such as how often it’s updated or what format it’s in.
You’ll get a response from GDS within 10 days. If they don’t think your data is suitable for a register, they might suggest you publish it somewhere else instead, for example on GOV.UK.
3. Agree a custodian
Your organisation must appoint one person, known as the custodian, to keep the register up-to-date.
The custodian must contact GDS to confirm:
- they’re happy to be involved in the project from the discovery phase
- they have permission from their senior information risk owner (SIRO) to take the role
The custodian’s name and organisation will be published alongside the register.
Based on the needs of your users, you’ll decide which information will be included in the register. You’ll also decide on the best way to collect feedback from your users.
4. Agree dataset
Your organisation will take part in a workshop with GDS to decide what will be included in the register.
After the workshop, you’ll need to create a first draft of the register and send it to GDS for review.
5. Review how feedback is collected
Your organisation and GDS will decide the most effective way of collecting and responding to user feedback on the register.
6. Review how the register is updated
You’ll show GDS how the current dataset is updated. This will help them know what needs to be built to help the custodian keep the register up to date.
The custodian will agree how the register will be maintained after it’s been published. They’ll also start finding and removing other lists of information that duplicate or contradict what’s in the register.
7. Meet operational standards
The custodian and GDS must agree how the register will be updated and hosted. A tool will be built for the custodian to help them update the register during the alpha phase.
8. Meet technical standards
The register must meet the technical standards set out in GDS’s specification.
The custodian must check these standards are being met if the register is hosted by your organisation. If GDS is hosting it, they’ll check this instead.
9. Find duplicate lists
The custodian must find any lists published elsewhere (such as on data.gov.uk or GOV.UK) that duplicate or contradict the information in the register.
The register will be iterated and then published. Teams across government will now be able to use it to build digital services.
10. Review feedback from alpha
The custodian must make changes to the register based on any feedback they received during the alpha phase.
11. Remove duplicate lists
The custodian and GDS will remove any lists that duplicate or contradict the information in the register.
The lists the custodian found during the alpha phase will be unpublished and redirected to the register. The register will become the only source of this information available.
The custodian will continue to update the register as and when the information changes. They’ll also make sure they continue to meet the operational and technical standards.