Press release

Government to publish new data on health, schools, courts and transport

The Prime Minister has committed to publishing key data on the National Health Service, schools, criminal courts and transport.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

7 July 2011

As part of the government’s continuing commitment to open up our public services and in advance of the Open Public Services White Paper, the Prime Minister today committed to publishing key data on the National Health Service, schools, criminal courts and transport.

This represents the most ambitious open data agenda of any government anywhere in the world. The new data will reveal clinical achievements and prescribing data by individual GP practices, the performance of hospital teams in treating lung cancer and other key healthcare conditions, the effectiveness of schools at teaching pupils across a range of subjects, criminal sentencing by each court, and data on rail timetables, rail service performance, roadworks, current road conditions, car parks and cycle routes in an open format for use by all. 

The new commitments, set out in a letter from the Prime Minister to Cabinet colleagues, aim to provide the public with more information about the performance of services they use every day, and to help to drive modern, personalised and sustainable public services. The new data are also expected to drive economic growth as they promote the creation of new services and applications. 

In his letter, the Prime Minister said: 

As you know, transparency is at the heart of our agenda for Government. We recognise that transparency and open data can be a powerful tool to help reform public services, foster innovation and empower citizens. We also understand that transparency can be a significant driver of economic activity. These commitments represent the most ambitious open data agenda of any government in the world.

Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, who will meet public service professionals and data industry representatives on Thursday morning to outline the new commitments, said: 

Information enables choice - which creates competition which drives up standards. The new commitments represent a quantum leap in government transparency and will radically help to drive better public services. Having this data available will help people find the right doctor for their needs or the best teacher for their child and will help frontline professionals compare their performance and effectiveness and improve it. Making this kind of information accessible to all will change the way public services operate in the future - for example, it will give users control of their own records - and it will stimulate innovation and enterprise in the UK economy.

The Prime Minister’s letter commits the Government to publishing the following new data sets. 


  • Data on comparative clinical outcomes of GP practices in England to be published by December 2011, following the lead of the NHS in London which has agreed a set of 22 indicators with local GPs.
  • Prescribing data by GP practice to be published by December 2011, as per the Growth Review.
  • Complaints data by NHS hospital so that patients can see what issues have affected others and take better decisions about which hospital suits them. This commitment will be met by October 2011.
  • Clinical audit data, detailing the performance of publicly funded clinical teams in treating key healthcare conditions, will be published from April 2012. This service will be piloted in December 2011 using data from the latest National Lung Cancer Audit, commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) as part of the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP).  
  • Data on staff satisfaction and engagement by NHS provider (for example by hospital and mental health trust) will be published from December 2011.  
  • Data on the quality of post-graduate medical education by provider from April 2012. 

Education and skills

Data enabling parents to see how effective their school is at teaching high, average and low attaining pupils across a range of subjects, from January 2012.

  • Opening up access to anonymised data from the National Pupil Database to help parents and pupils to monitor the performance of their schools in depth, from June 2012.  This will enable better comparisons of school performance and we will look to strengthen datasets in due course.
  • Bringing together for the first time school spending data, school performance data, pupil cohort data and Ofsted judgements, from January 2012, in a parent-friendly portal, searchable by postcode.
  • Data on attainment of students eligible for pupil premium to be published from January 2012.
  • Data on apprenticeships paid for by HM Government, by organisation and by success rate to be published from July 2011.


Criminal justice

  • Sentencing data by court will be published by November 2011, enabling the public to see exactly what sentences are being handed down in their local courts, and compare different courts on a wide range of measures. The data, anonymised, will include the age, gender and ethnicity of those sentenced, the sentence given, and the time taken at each stage from offence to completion of the case in court.
  • Data on performance of probation services and prisons including re-offending rates by offender and institution. To be published from October 2011.
  • From May 2012, the national crime mapping website,, will provide the public with information on what happens next for crime occurring on their streets, i.e. police action and justice outcomes. 


In addition to opening up data owned by DfT and its arms length bodies, we are committed to working with the transport industry and data users to make public transport data open and freely available for re-use. Over the next year we will deliver: 

  • Data on current and future roadworks on the Strategic Road Network to be published from October 2011, and subject to consultation to extend this during 2012 to Local Authority Streetworks Registers maintained under statute.
  • All remaining Government-owned free datsets from Transport Direct, including cycle route data and the national car park database to be made available for free re-use from October 2011.
  • Real time data on the Strategic Road Network including incidents, speeds and congestion to be published from December 2011. Office of Rail Regulation to increase the amount of data published relating to service performance and complaints by May 2012.
  • Rail timetable information to be published weekly by National Rail from December 2011. 

Government financial information

We are working with the purchase and payment card providers to provide a consistent method of reporting government procurement card spend data for transactions above £500 in value, so this is available for publication on departmental websites, from end September 2011. All of the new datasets will be published in an open standardised format so they can be freely re-used under the Open Government Licence by third parties. The new commitments follow the publication over the previous year of crime maps and data on government structures and spending, as committed to by the Prime Minister in his first letter to the Cabinet on transparency in May 2010. The Prime Minister’s letter to Cabinet today is published on the new Number 10 website, also launched today.

Notes to Editors

  1. Since the Prime Minister’s first letter on transparency on 31 May 2010, the number of data sets published through has doubled to more than 7,000  - including the following commitments from that letter: 

Central government spending transparency

  • Historic COINS spending data published online.
  • New central government ICT contracts published online.
  • New central government tender documents for contracts over £10,000 published on a single website, with this information made available to the public free of charge.
  • New items of central government spending over £25,000 published online.
  • New central government contracts published in full.
  • Full information on all DFID international development projects over £500 published online, including financial information and project documentation. 

Local government spending transparency

  • New items of local government spending over £500 published on a council-by-council basis.
  • New local government contracts and tender documents for expenditure over £500 published in full. 

Other key government datasets

  • Crime data published at a level that allows the public to see what is happening on their streets.
  • Names, grades, job titles and annual pay rates for the most Senior Civil Servants and NDPB officials.
  • Organograms for central government departments and agencies that include all staff published online in a common format.
Published 7 July 2011