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on the Comparison of OpenActive and Open referral

2.1 Comparison with Open Referral UK
does an attribute-by-attribute comparison of ORUK service properties with properties of an OA
@Session Series

From this comparison, we have identified the attributes listed below that might be added to
to make it more suitable for social prescribing. Properties that social prescribers said were important to them are annotated with 🌟.

Assured date -
The date that the information about the service was last checked. This gives confidence that information remains current, even if it was added some time ago. The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in many routinely scheduled activities no longer being held and records are not always updated to reflect this. Knowing that a record has recently been verified increases confidence in its correctness
Attending access
- how an activity can be accessed from a selection of: appointment, drop-in, membership and referral
Attending type
How to attend this service from a selection of: phone, online, venue, home visit. Social prescribers would like the “venue” types to be subdivided into “group”, “one-to-on” and “self” (see
- beyond age and gender restrictions, OA makes no provision for eligibility requirements. This information is sufficient for most sports opportunities although later provision might be made for the wider eligibility options available to
via a Circumstance taxonomy (
- this information is absent from
. It exists in OR to help understand commissioning (or subsidy) of services and so help match commissioning to need. Beyond the field of social prescribing, funding information would power analysis of activity funding by Sport England and other bodies
🌟 - this is not supported in
. Social prescribers have requested that this information be given for facilitators, so it should be held for each activity, ideally denoting the languages in which the activity is described and languages spoken during the activity
Location accessibility
- whilst this is a free text label in the current version of OR, both that and
would benefit from a taxonomy of location accessibility terms. See
below. (The ORl structure is extensible to let taxonomies be applied to other data elements.) A location accessibility URL attribute would allow links to more detailed accessibility data published by specialist organisations such as AccessAble (see
Modified date and time
- the date and time a record was added or last modified is needed to make incremental updates to copies of data held and to give a degree of confidence in its likely up-to-dateness. Such a date and time is used by and included in RDPE feeds but not within the data structure
- the URI, added in the UK extension to OR, can be used to add a resolvable unique identifier for the company, charity or other organisation responsible for the service/activity. Where this value exists it can help with deduplication across data feeds
- “review” in
is designed to record organisations that have reviewed a service/activity and the score that each organisation has assigned (from its own scale) such as “Approved”, “Rejected”, “Satisfactory” or “Passed audit”. This information allows a prescriber to determine if an activity meets the criteria it sets for prescribing. In addition to a review name/identifier and score, a reference attribute is needed for certificate or registration numbers. The review attribute can also be used to record the results of Safeguarding (DBS) and Health & Safety checks. See discussion of a
@Provider quality assurance
Service area
- the geographical extents of the area within which residents are eligible to attend the activity. Such area restrictions tend not to apply to physical activities, although they can affect prices charged
- the OR data structure uses “service_type” to describe the type of service delivered from a controlled/shared vocabulary. This approach is matched by the “activity” object in
(and version 2 of OR) extends the standard via link_taxonomy which supports taxonomies describing service properties other than the service type, such as eligibility, accessibility, target audience, organization type, cost option. See a fuller discussion of taxonomies
. Taxonomy terms apply to these activity attributes that are important to social prescribers:
Activity accessibility 🌟
@Activity type
🌟 - existing within OpenActive and needing validation for correct use from the
@Location accessibility
@Target audience
🌟 - taken from a taxonomy such as the LGA’s
situations branch

use unique identifiers for service/activity records. These need to be globally unique for aggregators to safely combine data feeds and define rules for deduplication. Hence
specifies use of universally unique identifiers (UUIDs) and
specified Unique Resolvable Identifiers (URIs). In practice many
identifiers are not URIs; they are just alphanumeric identifiers which are only unique within individual feeds.

While location attributes exist in the OA standard, we understand that they are not always populated for scheduled sessions as they apply to a data feed as a whole and information is not populated for every session.
like the “venue” types to be subdivided into “group”, “one-to-on” and “self” (see

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