Public data corporation to allow growth
13 January 2011
A new public data corporation will drive efficiency in public services and allow growth through an 'unprecedented' level of accessible public information, according to plans outlined by Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude and business minister Edward Davey.
The data corporation is set to allow members of the public, along with businesses and developers, to use public data to generate social and economic growth.
Francis Maude said the government wanted to go "further and faster" with its transparency agenda.
"Public sector information underpins a growing part of the economy. The technology that is around today allows people to use and re-use this information in new and different ways. The role of government is to help maximise the benefits of these developments," Maude said.
He added: "At present many state agencies face a conflict between maximising revenues from the sale of data and making the data freely available to be exploited for social and economic gain. Creating the PDC will enable the conflicts at the least to be managed consistently with a view to opening up access, and at best to be eliminated."
He said a public data corporation would allow benefits in three areas. First, he said data would be made freely available or charged for consistently where appropriate. Maude said: "It will be a centre where developers, businesses and members of the public can access data and use it to develop internet applications, inform their business decisions or identify ways to run public services more efficiently."
Maude also said that a data corporation would allow "operational synergies" in collecting, managing, storing and distributing data. He added that it could become a "vehicle" that would attract private investment.
Edward Davey said: "Britain has always been a leader in the global knowledge economy, but our public sector does not always share its data, skills and capabilities to benefit government and businesses as well as it could.
"A public data corporation is a global first and will help make this information much easier to access and understand. It will provide stability and certainty for businesses and entrepreneurs, attracting the investment these operations need to maintain their capabilities and drive growth in the economy. It will also give better value for the taxpayer by driving down costs and making the process more efficient".