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Help us with our search survey

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Government Platform, Licensing & Permissions

During development of the replacement for the SPIRE import/export licensing system, we might have mentioned once or twice that we need your help.

We’re at it again. This time, it’s all about search.

One of the key things we need to understand to build this new system is how exporters describe the items they trade in. Our goal is to create a system whereby you can enter a description of your goods, software or technology and have that description matched with an entry in the UK Strategic Export Control Lists.

Unfortunately, until we know exactly how you, the exporters, describe your items, we are going to have a hard time developing a robust search function that swiftly matches ‘systolic array computers’ with 4A004a, without also matching bananas with ML1.

Search term collection survey

If you have a couple of minutes to help us out, please head over to our anonymous search term collection survey. It first asks you for your industry, number of employees and how often you make a licence application so we can understand the results a little better, before moving onto the meat of the thing.

Screenshot of first survey question

The search term collection form asks you to enter a description of your export items. We’re asking you here to enter whatever you think you would enter if you were looking for your items in the UK Strategic Export Control Lists. If you like, use this first box exactly as you would use the Goods Checker.

If you would think to enter ‘quartz pressure transducers for pressures greater than 10 Gpa’ then please put that into the box. If you would enter ‘transducers’, that’s also fine. There is no right answer, we just want to know how you would use a form like this.

The other boxes on the screen are optional, and have a twofold purpose. Firstly we’re looking to see whether these boxes are useful to you, whether you know how to fill them out and find it helpful to be able to enter additional information about your exports. Secondly we want to know what anyone who does use these boxes would put in them, and if the examples shown beneath the boxes are helpful or misleading.

Rinse and repeat

The form is for both dual-use and military items, and we’re hoping you might have time to fill it out multiple times. Each time you submit a new goods description it will test the dataset we are building up to power the new service.

By finding the relevant rating for your exports we will be able to provide a list of the licences you can use, speeding up the process and saving you needing to be in touch with the Export Control Organisation during the registration process.

If you have any comments about the form itself, or any suggestions for how to improve how we’re building up the data behind the new service, please get in touch with our user researcher Nataly at

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