By Ivan Walsh
In an effort to promote accountability and transparency, Government agencies are developing registers of individuals and business entities, typically in relation to public sector license and permits.
What is a Published Register?
A Published Register is a web-based resource, typically managed by Licensing Authorities, to maintain details of license holders operating in their jurisdiction.
Unlike Public Registers, which are available to the public, Published Registers tend to be private and can only be accessed by the owner and its members.
In most countries, Government agencies are obliged by legislation to maintain (and make available) Published Registers. Information relating to identifiable individuals is published in accordance with the provisions in the relevant legislation. Individuals and entities can request that specific information is not published if it impinges on their rights to privacy.
Published Registers provide government agencies with a range of benefits, such as:
- A digital platform to maintain an official list of registered entities
- Reporting framework on entities operating in a jurisdiction
- Data exchange capabilities with other approved government bodies
- Business intelligence on entities, compliance performance, and financial breakdowns
Features and Functionality
While each Published Register will have different requirements depending on its needs, most will contain the following:
- Applications — list of applications received for membership to the register
- Communications — messages between the register owner and entities
- Issuance — the permit, transfer, or termination of membership by the register owner
- Notifications — prohibition, enforcement, revocation, suspension, and other notices served by the register owner
- Reports — published by the authority relating to an assessment of the application
- Fees — details of fees and charges paid for membership, modifications, and renewals
How it Works
As mentioned, the purpose of a register to is track individuals and businesses approved to perform certain activities. In general, this process starts when an entity submits an application for inclusion in the register.
Applicants are required to submit an application, including supporting documentation, and a payment if necessary. The form is examined to ensure that the relevant information has been provided. If everything is in order, it’s approved. The relevant license, permit, or certification is sent out with the details, such as the following, published to the register:
- Unique number of the license, permit, or certificate
- Name, address, and registered office of entity
- Date granted (or surrendered, cancelled or suspended)
- Conditions of license, permit, or certificate
- Details of refused applications
- Other information required for the register
Published Registers require capabilities to process payments, renewals, and in some cases, refunds. In general, the registration period begins on the day the completed form and fee are accepted.
Before the registration period expires, the Published Register system sends a reminder to the account holder to renew their details and make payments, if necessary. At renewal time, the agency checks any changes to the registration details. Once renewed, an email confirms that the entry has been renewed, the certificate updated, and a new expiry date published.
The entity is responsible for maintaining their entry. If part of it becomes inaccurate or incomplete, they are obliged to inform the register owner.
In some cases, it may be necessary to remove an entity from the register. For example, if it has closed for business.
Depending on the flexibility of the Published Register platform, entities can either close their account or submit a request for account closure. This minimizes data pollution and ensures the integrity of the register. The system removes redundant entries from the register.
If the status of an entity changes, their entry must be either updated or, if required, a new entry created. Legal entities frequently change, for example, when a sole trader becomes a partnership or a partnership becomes a limited company. Depending on legal requirements, this may require a new application to be completed.
Searching for Entities
Most Published Register systems include search engines capabilities to help both Administrators and registered entities search by:
- License holder name
- Registration number
- Business identifier number and other criteria
Government agencies can mine the register to create compliance reports, annual reports, and other reports based on the register data. These can be made available online, if required.
Likewise, charts, diagrams and other visuals related to performance, and financial breakdown per entity provide additional benefits to project stakeholders.
Government agencies can use integrated management reporting tools to exchanges data which is not subject to privacy, security or privilege limitations. In addition, it can export reports to multiple file formats across date range, location, type, or other criteria.
When architecting Published Registers, Escher ensure that they comply with Open Data principles.
This ensures that data is collected at the source with the highest level of granularity, quickly made available to preserve its value, and available to the widest range of users.
Open data helps governments improve efficiency between departments, leads to greater insight, forecasting. Its structure supports automated processing, and usually is non-proprietary and license-free.
Published Registers provide governments with an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to transparency and accountability. This is essential to ensure legal compliance, reduce tax evasion, and provide citizens with the services they expect.