Service types, needs and circumstances

This week I’ve had a couple of queries from developers who are reading or importing services from ORUK feeds on how to use taxonomies.

We’d normally expect each service record to have at least one “service type” from an open taxonomy such as the LGA’s services list. Service finders may group or allow filtering of services by service type.

If you want to target services at people with particular circumstances (e.g. asylum seeker) or with particular needs (e.g. health advice), you can use associations (aka “mappings”) between service types and needs/circumstances. The LGA publishes suggested mappings as downloadable files or data that can be queried via its API.

Some suppliers (like Placecube) use these mappings to add circumstance and need taxonomy terms to each service in their directories. Others look to service finder developers to implement such mappings themselves using the LGA’s suggested mappings or ones they define.

We’re talking with Doc&Tee about how to make the process easier for them to configure in their service finder tools.


I’ve drafted the document Por11094 - Representing and amending mappings between controlled lists which looks at how we map between taxonomy terms used in directories, e.g. the types of service appropriate for a given need.

We’re reviewing and workshopping this on Monday 12 July at 14:00 BST and would love lots of people to come to share learning. Please book here if you want to come.

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Here’s a video of the Taxonomies And Mappings Workshop - YouTube and here are the slides: Por30087 - Taxonomies and Mappings Workshop - Google Slides.

We’re now working on outputting the simplified JSON and CSV mapping formats from LGA lists and will be making proposals for using this or something similar as a standard mapping format. Also for means of sharing one another’s lists and mappings so we can evolve suitable one for different use-case, linking in to a central model.