An autocomplete for UK Government organisations.
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README.md

govuk-government-organisations-autocomplete

This is an autocomplete for UK Government organisations.

The code is built on top of the accessible-autocomplete component, with the additional features of being able to search by abbreviation (eg 'DfE') or alternative names.

View demo

How to use

The autocomplete works as a progressive enhancement of a dropdown element. This ensures that the interface still works when javascript is unavailable.

The most basic form of the autocomplete will work with any regular <select> HTML, eg:

<select id="government-organisation">
  <option value="" selected>Pick an option</option>
  <option value="D2">Cabinet Office</option>
  <option value="D1198">Department for Business, Energy &amp; Industrial Strategy</option>
  <option value="D5">Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport</option>
  <option value="D6">Department for Education</option>
  <option value="D7">Department for Environment, Food &amp; Rural Affairs</option>
</select>

To enhance this with the autocomplete, you’ll need to include the javascript function in govuk_government_organisations_autocomplete.js, and then initialize it with a reference to your select element:

govukGovernmentOrganisationsAutocomplete({
  selectElement: document.getElementById('government-organisations'),
})

You can further improve the usability of the autocomplete by allowing users to select government organisations by their common abbreviation (such as DfE) or alternative/previous names (such as Department for Communities and Local Government instead of Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government).

To do this, add the additional values as data attributes, as below:

<select id="government-organisation">
  <option value="" selected>Pick an option</option>
  <option value="D2" data-abbreviations="CO">
    Cabinet Office
  </option>
  <option value="D1198" data-abbreviations="BEIS">
    Department for Business, Energy &amp; Industrial Strategy
  </option>
  <option value="D5" data-abbreviations="DCMS"
    data-other-names="Department for Culture, Media & Sport|Department for Digital, Culture Media & Sport">
    Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
  </option>
  <option value="D6" data-abbreviations="DfE">
    Department for Education
  </option>
  <option value="D7" data-abbreviations="Defra"
    data-other-names="Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs">
    Department for Environment, Food &amp; Rural Affairs
  </option>
</select>

(Note that these attribute names are plural, as they can take multiple values separated by a | character.)

If your list of organisations is long, you can group them using the <optgroup> element. This improves accessibility for non-javascript users:

<select id="government-organisation">
  <optgroup label="Ministerial Departments">
    <option value="" selected>Pick an option</option>
    <option value="D2">Cabinet Office</option>
    <option value="D1198">Department for Business, Energy &amp; Industrial Strategy</option>
    <option value="D5">Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport</option>
    <option value="D6">Department for Education</option>
    <option value="D7">Department for Environment, Food &amp; Rural Affairs</option>
  </optgroup>
  <optgroup label="Non-ministerial departments">
    <option value="D550">Competition and Markets Authority</option>
    <option value="D101">Crown Prosecution Service</option>
    <option value="D102">Food Standards Agency</option>
    <option value="D85">Forestry Commission</option>
    <option value="D103">Government Actuary's Department</option>
  </optgroup>
</select>

Styling

The javascript function works by first hiding the <select> dropdown, replacing it with a regular <input> element, and then adding a list of suggestions within a <ul> tag.

This shows the markup generated:

<div>
  <span>
    <div class="autocomplete__wrapper" role="combobox" aria-expanded="false">
      <div aria-atomic="true" aria-live="polite" role="status"
        style="border: 0px; clip: rect(0px, 0px, 0px, 0px); height: 1px;
        margin-bottom: -1px; margin-right: -1px; overflow: hidden;
        padding: 0px; position: absolute; white-space: nowrap; width: 1px;">
          568 results are available. <span>,,</span>
      </div>
      <input aria-owns="government-organisations__listbox" autocomplete="off"
        class="autocomplete__input" id="government-organisations" name=""
        placeholder="" type="text" role="textbox" />

      <ul class="autocomplete__menu autocomplete__menu--inline autocomplete__menu"
        id="government-organisations__listbox" role="listbox">
        <li class="autocomplete__option" id="government-organisations__option--0"
          role="option" tabindex="-1">Attorney General's Office</li>
        <li class="autocomplete__option autocomplete__option--odd"
          id="government-organisations__option--1" role="option"
          tabindex="-1">Cabinet Office</li>
        <li class="autocomplete__option" id="government-organisations__option--2"
          role="option" tabindex="-1">
          Department for Business, Energy &amp; Industrial Strategy
        </li>
      </ul>
    </div>
  </span>
</div>

You can use the following class names to target styles:

  • autocomplete__wrapper - overall wrapper element
  • autocomplete__input - the input element
  • autocomplete__hint - hint text (used if autoSuggest is set to true)
  • autocomplete__menu - the suggestions element
  • autocomplete__option - an individual suggetion

Alternatively, use the existing CSS in accessible-autocomplete.css.

Options

The accessible-autocomplete code (on which this is based) supports additional options, including:

  • minLength - default is 0 - minimum number of characters before options are shown.
  • autoselect - default is false. Set to true to highlight the first option when the user types in something and receives results. Pressing enter will select it.
  • confirmOnBlur - default is true. The autocomplete will confirm the currently selected option when the user clicks outside of the component. Set to false to disable.

See autocomplete options for a full list.

Source data

You can use your own list of government organisations with this autocomplete, or borrow the list below, which uses data from both the government-organisation register and the GOV.UK organisations API.

The source data contains the following fields:

  • key - primary key. This is taken from either the register, or the analytics_key from the GOV.UK API if the organisation isn’t in the register.
  • current_name - the current official name of the organisation
  • other_name - this includes previous names for the organisation, as well as some spelling variants
  • abbreviations – any abbreviations (or previous abbreviations) for the organisation (eg DfT for the Department of Transport).
  • start_date - date or month or year organisation started (null implies unknown).
  • end_date - date or month or year organisation ended (null implies that the organisation still operates, "unknown" implies that the organisation has closed, but the date is unknown).
  • format - status of the organisation within Government, eg 'Ministerial department' or 'Executive agency'.
  • parents - the keys of any parent organisation (eg the Department that an Agency belongs to, or is sponsored by).

Contributions

Contributions to this code are welcome. Please open a Pull Request or submit an Issue.

If the issue is connected with the underlying accessible-autocomplete component, then it should be directed there instead.