Developing cross-service data infrastructure

UK Government

The Government Digital Service (GDS), part of the Cabinet Office, focuses on the digital transformation of government. It’s a centre of excellence in digital, technology and data, and it supports government departments to build platforms, standards and digital services.

The challenge

In 2015, GDS began to explore ways to help government agencies to use shared platforms and data registers to build better services. They wanted to understand how to improve digital registers and how to use these to solve common data issues that are often faced by the government and public sector organisations.

Various teams across government often rely on data to help develop and build their services, yet sourcing it from across government is a very tricky and time intensive task. Data can also become out of date quickly which is cause for trust issues and often the data must be cleansed before use. It is these challenges that the GDS team wanted to overcome.

Register Dynamics was brought in to help the GDS team to provide solutions to these challenges and to support GDS’ underlying aim and strategy to develop Government-as-a-Platform.

How we helped

We helped move the GOV.UK Open Registers service from proof-of-concept into production. We grew the ecosystem from a single register to many more across a range of government departments. We designed and introduced a strategic technical roadmap to drive adoption and solve real user problems.

Our roadmap included architectural blueprints describing how to combine registers with other data sources. We applied this in the GOV.UK Location Picker to allow users to select a country by a name, synonym or endonym – a much-needed feature that was well received by the service community.

Our expertise in database systems and blockchain techniques enabled us to develop features for cryptographic proofs and functional indexes in the underlying Open Register technology.

The result

GDS successfully launched the GOV.UK Registers service, enabling multiple government departments and services to access, store and use data more readily. It has become a well-respected platform, has helped people to build better services, and has been a launchpad for further services and improvements to the way government handles data.