Attributes and Personal Data Exchange (product teams)

Services need to check certain things about their users in order to make sure they give the right service to the right person. These checks happen both within and outside of government. Most often, they are manual, with users being asked to send in information about themselves which is checked by service assessors. If services could digitally check personal data which is held by other organisations, then services would save huge amounts of time and money.

At GDS we asked the question: How can we help services use data about their users held in other organisations?

We’ve explored this question from different angles. In 2016, the Private Registers team started by looking at the main issues around personal data in government and identified this particular problem as a critical part of government service transformation. In 2017 this work was taken forward by the Personal Data Exchange (PDE) team, who designed a prototype system that could be used to check eligibility simply, safely and securely. Most recently, in 2018, the Attributes team brought together the work on eligibility and combined it with GDS’ knowledge of standards, identity and assurance.

The vision of GDS is that government will have a trusted ecosystem where services can get answers to their questions about their users. To work effectively, this ecosystem needs frameworks for different things including trust, legal, assurance, technology and standards. We are sharing our outputs and the progress we’ve made in the hope that it will help us move closer to this goal.

Work will be continuing in this area on iterating attribute metadata standards and guidance.


From the Attributes product team

From the Personal Data Exchange product team


If you have questions about the above documents, you can still get in contact with the following individuals:


All of the above documents are licensed under the Open Government License v3. The prototype code and technical specification are released under the MIT License.