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Government data to be opened up to the public

The Prime Minister has today launched a radical plan to open up Government data to the public.

In a letter sent to all Government departments, David Cameron has set out ambitious plans to open up data and set challenging deadlines to public bodies for the publication of information on topics including crime, hospital infections and Government spending.

The letter also announced that MySociety founder Tom Steinberg will advise ministers on the development and implementation of the transparency agenda.

Whitehall departments will begin to release new data to the public this week, starting with senior civil service salaries, MRSA infection data on a hospital-by-hospital basis and the Treasury’s COINS database of public spending.

In his letter, the PM said:

Greater transparency across Government is at the heart of our shared commitment to enable the public to hold politicians and public bodies to account; to reduce the deficit and deliver better value for money in public spending; and to realise significant economic benefits by enabling businesses and non-profit organisations to build innovative applications and websites using public data.

Key commitments set out in the Prime Minister’s letter include the publication of all new central Government ICT contracts from July 2010 and the publication of details of all DFID international development projects over £500 from January 2011.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude will chair a new Transparency Board, including experts such as Tom Steinberg, to drive the agenda across Government.

The PM spoke about plans to make Government more transparent in his first podcast released on Saturday.

Previous story: PM outlines plans for transparent Government

Read the PM’s letter to Government departments

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