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Introducing the register history page: tracking a register’s creation

Posted by: and , Posted on: - Categories: Data Infrastructure, Registers

A few months ago, we published some guidance on GOV.UK that explains how registers are created.

We did this to meet what was a previously unfulfilled user need. We often come across people who collect, manage or store data for their organisation and think they should be using a register. However, some of them were reluctant to commit to doing so because they had no way of finding out what the process of creating a register involves.

Explaining the process from beginning to end helps potential custodians understand exactly how involved they need to be in the register creation process. For existing custodians, this guidance gives them an indication of what else they need to do to put their register live.

The one thing our guidance doesn’t do is tell custodians how long it takes to create a register. This varies from register to register, depending on things like the complexity of the dataset and the number of duplicate lists of information that need to be retired and redirected. So giving custodians a general idea of how long the process takes isn’t easy.

To fix this, we decided to create a history page for each register. So far we’ve published history pages for the local authority England, country and territory registers.

These pages can be viewed by anyone and are published as soon as a register is released into alpha. They’re effectively an audit trail - a way of sharing exactly what decisions the custodian had to make in order to complete the process.

They also help us identify which parts of the register creation process need improvement. For example, if we find the majority of custodians take a long time to complete a certain step, we need to think about how we can iterate it.

More of these pages will be published soon. As with everything we work on, we’re always keen to know what you think and how we might improve these pages. Please do get in touch with any comments or suggestions.

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