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Panopticon is an application originally built to act as a central repository for content on GOV.UK. It is being deprecated.

Screenshot of Panopticon, April 2016

Live examples

Features & deprecation

Feature Replacement Status
Specifying legacy source Feature removed Done
Tagging documents Any document on GOV.UK will be taggable in content-tagger Partially done
Registering routes The content-store registers routes for any content-item that doesn't have the "placeholder" format Partially done
Creating tags (via API) Creating tags is done in collections-publisher. Once nothing is using tags from the content-api this feature can be removed Partially done
Creating artefacts for mainstream publisher To be decided Not started
Specifying related items To be decided Not started
Sending data to Rummager The publishing-api will send the content item to the message queue, which will be picked up by rummager Not started
Syncing links from publishing-api (see) Frontend apps will start using the content-store for the taggings Not started
See a history of document changes To be decided Not started


  • Artefact: a document on GOV.UK.

Technical documentation

Panopticon provides three interfaces:

  • An admin UI where items can be created and their metadata edited
  • A writeable API where applications can register the content they provide
  • A read API for retrieving metadata about a given item

Panopticon shares a database with Mainstream Publisher, Content API and Travel Advice Publisher. They share application code via the govuk_content_models gem.


Running the application

In the development VM:

cd /var/govuk/development && bowl panopticon

The app with appear at

Running the message queue

Frontend apps rely on the tagging data in content_api to show breadcrumbs. Panopticon listens to any changes in publishing-api via the message queue and saves this data.

To run the message queue:

govuk_setenv panopticon bundle exec rake message_queue:consumer

Running the test suite

bundle exec rake


MIT License

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