Getting started

Everything you need to know about getting started with MoJ Forms and planning a form.


What makes a good form

Forms built with MoJ Forms should aim to meet the GOV.UK Service Standard. This is a set of principles that helps government teams create and run high-quality services.

Not all of the principles will be relevant and some of them have been taken care of by MoJ Forms but you should still consider how they can be applied to your project. In particular, it is important that you:

  • understand your users' needs
  • make your form simple to use
  • make sure everyone can use your form

The Service Manual includes a lot of simple, clear advice to help you create a form that meets the Service Standard. The section on structuring forms will be particularly useful.

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Planning your form

We have designed MoJ Forms to be quick and easy to use but it helps to plan your form in advance. Before you start building your form, think about:

  • what information you need to ask for - creating a question protocol can help you with this
  • how to order your questions - for example, put questions that help users work out if they are eligible for your service at the beginning
  • how to group your questions - forms work best when you ask one thing per page
  • which question format to use for each question
  • where you might need branches to divert users around questions they don't need to answer

For more help with planning, read the Service Manual chapter on structuring forms.

Also refer to the GOV.UK Design System for advice and guidance on how best to use the specific question formats.

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Security classifications for your form

MoJ Forms can be used only for information classed up to SENSITIVE under the Government Security Classifications Policy.

The policy is a framework for protecting government information against compromise, loss or incorrect disclosure. Any information that is created, processed, sent or received as a part of your work for the government falls within the policy.

The OFFICIAL classification covers the majority of information that is created, processed, sent or received in the public sector and by partner organisations, which could cause no more than moderate damage if compromised.

All data received from a form is labelled OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE. The additional -SENSITIVE marking indicates that the information is not intended for public release and that it is of at least some interest to threat actors (internal or external), activists or the media. This may not always apply, depending on the nature of your form, but this extra marking ensures that all relevant data is covered.

MoJ Forms should not be used if any of the information being collected has the potential to fall under the SECRET or TOP SECRET classifications.

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Timescales and engagement

It's possible to build a test form in minutes using MoJ Forms but getting a form ready for live can take a lot longer. As well as the usual time it might take to review and sign off your form, there are a number of things we recommend you consider and plan in advance.

Data protection

You should contact your information assurance lead or local data protection team as early as possible to discuss whether your form requires a data protection impact assessment (DPIA). This will help identify and minimise any data protection risks involved and ensure that the activity is registered with the data protection team.

Nearer to your publication date, you will also need to prepare a privacy notice.

See the section on data protection and privacy for details.


Public sector accessibility regulations require all forms to be accessible and have an accessibility statement. This means making your content and design clear and simple enough so that most people can use it without needing to adapt it, while supporting those who do need to adapt things.

We have taken care of a lot of the requirements for you by making MoJ page designs fully accessible and providing a template for your accessibility statement. But you will still need to ensure your content is accessible and complete the statement with your own details.

Learn more in the accessibility section.

Taking payments

MoJ Forms can help you take payments from users by connecting your form with GOV.UK Pay using payment links. If you are new to GOV.UK Pay, this will take time to set up.

You can create a GOV.UK Pay account and set up a test payment link in just a few minutes but it may be several months before you are ready to take payments. This depends on the payment service provider arrangements in your area. For example, MoJ, HMCTS and HMPPS all have separate agreements with the Government Banking Service.

Email accounts

You may need to set up several new team email accounts for use with MoJ Forms:

  • to collect submissions from your form
  • to use as the reply address on confirmation emails

These can be the same or different and will need to be verified as you are building and setting up your form.

Welsh language support

UK government departments that provide services in Wales are required to treat the Welsh and English languages equally. That means you may need to translate your form into Welsh and provide support to users in Welsh.

MoJ has several Welsh Language Schemes which explain our policy on translating and providing services in Welsh:

When deciding whether to translate a form, follow your agency's Welsh language scheme and look for evidence of a user need, such as high volumes of Welsh users or requests for translations from Welsh-language speakers.

You will need to source your own translations and enter these manually into a separate version of your form. See Translating a form into Welsh for details. You may also need to consider processes and resources for handling and responding to users in Welsh.

Your local GOV.UK publishing team will be able to advise you on sourcing translations.

Unlocking the ability to publish to Live

When you think your form is ready, you will need to apply to unlock the ability to publish to Live. This can take up to 3 working days and may highlight the need for changes to the form.

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Getting your form assessed

Government digital services usually go through a service assessment. This is a process managed by the Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) and each government department to ensure all government services are built to the same standard.

Forms built with a form-building service like MoJ Forms are an exception. Your form will only need to go through a service assessment if one or more of the following apply:

  • it’s likely to handle more than 10,000 transactions per year
  • it supports vulnerable people, people in danger or responses to natural disasters
  • it helps keep government accountable, and is required by law or regulation
  • it’s likely to transfer more than £1 million each year to members of the public or organisations

If you think any of these might apply to your service, contact your local service assessment lead. See Check if you need to meet the Service Standard or get an assessment for details.

If none of these apply, you won't need a service assessment.

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Getting on GOV.UK

If you want to link to your form from GOV.UK, you will need to talk to your local GOV.UK publishing team. They will help you decide where the form should sit and help you with any guidance content that may be required around it. You will also need to decide where your start page is going to sit.

If your form is aimed at members of the public and will sit under services and information (sometimes called 'mainstream' content), they will need to raise a request with the Government Digital Service (GDS) to make the necessary changes. This could take more time.

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