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Orphan Works Licensing Service - Self Certification

Self Certifications are run internally by each department, organised through their responsible Digital Leader. The Digital Leader will certify the service meets the Digital by Default service standard criteria. The Self Certification process is currently in Alpha, and will continue to be iterated on. Services with over 100,000 transactions a year will continue to be assessed by GDS.

An Orphan Work is a creative work/ performance subject to copyright, such as a diary, a photo, film or a piece of music, for which one or more of the rights holders (owners of the copyright) cannot be located following a diligent search.

At present, such works cannot be copied for use in exhibitions, books, TV, documentaries, websites etc.

However legislative changes, which come into effect from October 2014, mean the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) can offer a new licensing service to enable the legal commercial and non-commercial use of all types of orphan creative works within the UK. The interests of the potential right holder will be protected by ensuring before a licence is issued due diligence has been undertaken to identify and find the rights holders. Where the right holder cannot be found and a licence is issued the details will be held on an electronic register, thus allowing an opportunity for someone to quickly identify if their work has been licensed as an orphan and claim the associated licence fee.

There are two elements to the service:

  • checking the register; and
  • applying for a licence

Department / Agency:

Date of Submission:

Assessment Stage:

Lead Assessor:
P. Turner

Service Manager:
A. Graves

 Digital Leader:
T. Knighton

Assessors Summary:

After consideration, the assessment panel were content that the Orphan Works Licensing Service meets the Digital by Default Service Standard and should proceed to launch as a Beta service.

The panel were impressed with the thoroughness of the service team’s preparation and presentation. There is clear evidence throughout that they have designed and developed the service in line with the service standard.

Prior to launching the beta service, the panel requests that:

  • work ongoing to review the service and ensure the GOV.UK design patterns and style guide are met is completed. This should include reviewing and revising the wording of some of the questions as identified during the assessment;
  • it is made clearer which information is mandatory or optional for the user and which information will be included in the register; and
  • if possible, a progress bar is included to enable users to understand how far they are through the process

In addition, the panel recommends that during the beta phase the following points are considered: to enhance and strengthen the service.

Security, Privacy, Tools and Standards

  • Continue to identify and assess any risks and involve the SIRO, Information Data Owner and Accreditor as appropriate (criterion 3).
  • Continue to make it clear what the procedure is for personal data that is not on the public register; and ensure there is clear understanding of the data flows through the service (criterion 4).
  • Load testing will be completed prior to the beta launch. However given the uncertainty on the number of users that are likely to use the service it is recommended that load testing with reasoned volumetrics is performed (criterion 25).


  • Follow through the intention to setup a specific content/UI team.
  • Be clearer about the split of roles across the multidisciplinary team specifically the content design role, which appeared not to be specifically assigned (criterion 12).

Assisted Digital

  • Develop a clearly defined Assisted Digital (AD) strategy in beta ensuring that research is conducted with AD users (both Business to Customer and Business to Business as appropriate) for the service. The B2B element of the service appears well understood. The IPO has an established contact centre and an option to use the contact centre to walk through the service with AD users was mentioned. However the panel felt this needed more consideration during the beta to ensure it is the optimal solution (criterion 10).

Analysis and Benchmarking

  • Give further consideration to the 4 key KPIs and how the Performance Platform can support monitoring of the service and how business KPIs (as well as page navigation type events) will be measured.

To reiterate, these recommendations have been made to help IPO further strengthen what is already a strong proposition.

Results Against the Digital by Default Criteria:

Criteria Passed Criteria Passed
1 Yes 2 Yes
3 Yes 4 Yes
5 Yes 6 Yes
7 Yes 8 Yes
9 Yes 10 Yes
11 N/A 12 Yes
13 Yes 14 Yes
15 Yes 16 Yes
17 Yes 18 Yes
19 Yes 20 Yes
21 Yes 22 Yes
23 Yes 24 Yes
25 Yes 26 Yes
Details of criteria that are not applicable to this service
Criteria 11 – this is a new digital service.