Family Information Directory (FID)

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Title: Family Information Directory (FID)

Standards Profile

ISB STATUS = RECOMMENDED.   A controlled list of terms used by Local Authorities and National Service Providers, and with relevance to the wider ESCS.

System Wide Standard

ISB Decision


On 24th November 2009 the ISB gave the Family Information Directory (FID), then known as the Parent Know How Directory Vocabulary, the status of recommended. 

The FID subject vocabulary has been developed to provide standard lists of terms that can be associated as metadata tags with information content about services relevant to parents and practitioners, which can be uploaded to the Family Information Directory aggregator.  The primary aim of the FID is to improve the reach and quality of parenting information and support services, and to enable practitioners to access the right information when needed.  This aim supports and facilitates the overall objective of implementing the “information duty” required of Local Authorities in Section 12 of the Childcare Act (2006).

Local Authorities currently use the Integrated Public Sector Vocabulary (IPSV) ( ) and / or their own controlled vocabularies to tag content, although it should be noted that a significant number of Local Authorities do not use controlled vocabularies at all.  This means that there is a multitude of vocabularies of terms currently in use across the sector.  This is not a satisfactory state of affairs, and has particular ramifications for the aim of achieving a unified system.

The use of a single set of vocabularies of terms will bring benefits to users of these web services (e.g., parents) in that they will need only be familiar with one vocabulary, and that vocabulary is closer semantically to their own everyday language.  This will make search and retrieval easier and more accurate.  Moreover, cross-Authority information searches will be achievable where all Authorities are using the same vocabularies for tagging content. In some authorities, several currently separate databases will be combined using the interoperability architecture.
The FID subject vocabulary is used by Local Authorities and National Service Providers to tag information content about services for parents.  In addition, the vocabularies can be used to create an online directory.  Users who already have and use their own vocabularies can map these to the FID subject vocabulary.  Authorities using the IPSV can use a mapping which the project has already developed to automatically generate FID subject tags.

There is an ongoing programme of editorial board meetings to address issues as they arise.

Local Authorities in England, and their Information System providers, plus registered National Organisations/Services and centralised services notably DirectGov.




Controlled Vocabulary

Government (x-GEA)

Content Owner / Developer;Developer

Crown Copyright

Guidance on the use of vocabularies and complementary controlled lists is available from this link:

Standards Links

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Control of this document now lies with the ESCS ISB Vocabularies SIG and the FID editorial board.  If you want to contact the ESCS ISB Vocabularies SIG or the FID editorial board, please email in the first instance.

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