Registers are authoritative lists that provide a reliable source of truth. They are designed to ensure data consistency and reduce duplication. The Government Digital Service (GDS) is developing a platform to host these registers, aiming to make them easy to create, maintain and use.

The concept of registers is not new, but their application within government services has been inconsistent. The GDS is working to standardise the approach to registers, defining them as lists that are canonical, authoritative, live, and have a responsible custodian.

The GDS has identified three types of registers: open, closed and access controlled. Open registers are available to everyone, closed registers are not maintained anymore, and access-controlled registers have restrictions on who can access them.

The GDS is also establishing a Register Design Authority to set the standards for registers, ensuring they are trustworthy and useful. This body will also provide guidance on how to create and maintain a register.

The GDS is starting with a few registers, including country, local authority and school registers, with plans to expand to others. The goal is to make data more reliable, up-to-date, and easier to use, ultimately improving public services.

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