Guidance: Including data into the index

This is an older version of the guidance, retained for reference. The updated version should be used instead.

A key part of the government's Transparency agenda is the opening up of data held by government bodies – from ministerial departments, agencies, NHS and arms-length bodies, and more. So that people can find and re-use this data in innovative ways, it must be included on the site, which acts as a registry, holding details of online public data – generally on your corporate website.

This is a guide for those working to publish their organisation's data on how you can include it on It assumes that you already have the data ready to publish (in an open format, with any necessary clearances and redactions made) and are able to put it onto your corporate website or another similar site which allows members of the public to access content. Other guidance is also available on how to prepare data for publication, and specific instructions for centrally-coordinated datasets.

Each departmental family has a nominated transparency lead practitioner, generally in the ministerial lead department. They can advise you on how to put these instructions into practice, including hosting if you cannot find a website on which to place the data, and allow you to test the method before publication. They cover both their ministerial department and also those in any non-ministerial departments, agencies, NDPBs etc. which report to Parliament through that minister.

There are two different mechanisms for getting your published data included – an online process using web-based forms, and an offline, manual process over e-mail. The first is preferred, but the second is available as needed (e.g. if your systems do not allow you access to the site).

Primary "online" method

This method involves you entering directly the details needed to include your data in's index, and instantly publish it. This is the quickest and most scalable way to get your dataset listed.

  1. Create an account on and have it granted "publisher" access
    • Go to and click on Sign up to create an account
    • Fill in the form (using your official e-mail if possible) and click on Create new account
    • You will receive an e-mail with a link to finish creating your account and set a password
    • Then, send your username to your departmental family's lead (below) asking to be granted publisher access, or failing that, the central team:

    Please note that each public body should aim to have two users for continuity. Accounts should not be shared, but each individual should have their own, to ensure that actions are auditable.

  2. Fill in the online form and publish the data
    • Go to and sign in using the details in step 1.
    • Click on the link create a dataset under the top navigation bar.
    • Fill in the presented form using the instructions on the page.
    • Click on Submit Query to instantly publish your data on the site.
    • If you need to modify something once saved, just click on Edit on CKAN

    Please be careful with the system – you will be editing a live, public-facing government website. Full guidance on how to fill in the items on the form is available on Civil Pages.

  3. Featuring your data on the front page
    If you would like to get your data highlighted on the front page of, simply e-mail the central team ( telling us what data you will publish, when, and why it should be featured. This should be some time in advance to ensure the slot is free.
  4. Need help?

    If you need any support during the publishing process, please contact your departmental family's lead (below) or the Public Data and Transparency team at The National Archives:
    e-mail:; phone: +44 (0)20 8392 5330 ext. 2493.

Back-up "offline" method

You can use this method if you will only occasionally be publishing datasets on, or if you cannot access the site. It involves filling in the details about the data into an Excel spreadsheet and e-mailing it to The National Archives. You should bear in mind that there will be a delay between your request for publication and its display on

  1. Get the current version of the "meta-data pro-forma"
    Request from your departmental family's lead (below) or
  2. Fill in the pro-forma
    Full guidance on how to fill in the items on the form is available in Annex A and on Civil Pages.
  3. Submit the filled-in pro-forma
    Send it to; it should be listed within 5 working days.


If you are in central government, there is a list on Civil Pages of contacts in ministerial departments. You should refer to the one that is in your departmental family if an appropriate one is available.

If you are in the NHS, you should work through your organisation's contact in the NHS Information Centre who lead on the Transparency agenda for the Department of Health and associated bodies.

If you are in local government, the Department for Communities and Local Government has a central team available on

In other cases, or if you are in central government but do not have access to the GSi and so cannot access Civil Pages, please contact the central team at

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