The Family Information Directory was introduced in 2009 to provide a unique, comprehensive source of registered childcare and family services information.
The Directory was an extensive online signposting system. The key component of the Directory was the Aggregator which aggregated data from local authorities and national organisations in England. It then published the information on a range of websites to enable parents, families and those who work with them to search childcare and family services. In March 2011 there were almost 193,000 records in the Directory and statistics show that the Directory received around 40,000 searches a day in 2010.
In March 2011 the Department decided to release the software components of the Aggregator under an open source licence to enable any organisation that wishes to build and manage its own version of the Directory.
Organisations can use the software to develop an Aggregator with the capability to receive data from local authorities and national organisations and then syndicate that information via different channels. The software could also be developed to receive data from a variety of other sources.
Any organisation wishing to provide a Directory service will need to contact local authorities initially to arrange an information feed for local childcare and family services data.
Open source means the code for the Aggregator is freely available to anyone to download and set up their own version of the system. It does not include the existing data in the Directory. This approach is in line with the UK Government Licencing Framework initiative, which encourages the reuse of publicly held information to enable the creation of services that deliver social and economic benefits.
The code components are being made available under these licences: