Cabinet Office To Create A Central Information Store

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Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude is bringing together all government data in the Public Data Corporation

The UK Cabinet Office has announced plans to open access to government data further with the establishment of the Public Data Corporation (PDC) later this year. All available public information will be gathered together under one umbrella.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said, “We have entered a new era of transparency in government and have already made an unprecedented level of data available. But we want to go further and faster, this agenda is more important than ever.”

A single source for government data

Francis Maude

For the first time, individual government bodies’ public information databases will be brought together for ready access in a single area. As part of the coalition government’s business growth and job creation agenda, it is intended that the PDC will create opportunities for developers, businesses and members of the public to generate social and economic growth through the use of the data made available.

“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.

Not all of the data will be provided for free use by these new and established organisations.

“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,” he said. “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.”

Multiple benefits

Maude said that the PDC will bring benefits in three areas. Firstly, it will allow data to be made available on a free or charged-for basis so developers, businesses and members of the public can use it to develop internet applications, inform their business decisions or identify ways to run public services more efficiently.

Second, it will provide the government with a single “centre of excellence” that specialises in methods of collecting, managing, storing and distributing data, rather than the current dispersed, patchy and non-standardised processes currently available. Finally, it can be used to attract private investment and revenue from sharing the data-specific expertise with others.

Business Minister, 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.”

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