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More accessible and transparent public data for business growth

Together, the new appointments will be responsible for maximising the value of public sector data, including by making it more accessible and…

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Together, the new appointments will be responsible for maximising the value of public sector data, including by making it more accessible and transparent in the four Trading Funds which make up the Public Data Group - Ordnance Survey, the Met Office, Land Registry and Companies House.

Stephan Shakespeare is the new Chair for the Data Strategy Board (DSB), the new Advisory Body set up to maximise value for data users across the UK, primarily from data that the Public Data Group (PDG) Trading Funds hold.

The DSB will also advise government on how best to prioritise investment in data and services for public sector use as well as expanding the opportunities for starting and growing a business in the UK.

Claudia Arney will take up the post of Chair for the PDG. The Group will seek to support growth in the UK by delivering improvements in public services through collaborating across the PDG and the wider public sector.

The announcement comes as Francis Maude launches the Open Data White Paper which sets out how the Government will ensure that everybody can benefit from the open data revolution by making data held by the public sector more accessible and more usable.

It will also herald a tidal wave of new data releases covering health, education and work and will help drive improvements in public services, secure the UK’s position as a world-leader in transparency and put the citizen at the heart of the open data revolution.

As part of this, Companies House have today released a new dataset of company data for free re-use. This will make it easier for people to access company data and help stimulate growth by allowing large and small businesses to use the data to develop new services.

David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, who will oversee the Data Strategy Board, said:

“Stephan has an impressive track record in the digital world and I look forward to his advice on how we can make the best use of open data.

“In particular his knowledge of the public data sphere will be vital in helping the public sector and businesses work together to get the maximum benefit and help stimulate economic growth.”

Norman Lamb, Minister for Consumer Affairs, who will oversee the Public Data Group, said:

“Claudia Arney has excellent knowledge of the public data issues and her commercial experience will be crucial in leading the way to make data more freely available and working together with the different member bodies.

“The taxpayer will benefit in the long term from new revenue streams and better data efficiency, whether it’s at your local council or working with the private sector to deliver better public services. Today’s release of data by Companies House is also an excellent example of what’s been done already to increase access to data.”

Stephan Shakespeare, Chair of the Data Strategy Board said:

“I am delighted to be asked to lead the new Data Strategy Board. We are at a very important moment when new access to valuable datasets and greater transparency across business and government can bring increased creativity and growth. I look forward to working with the Data Strategy Board to help deliver this goal.”

Claudia Arney, Chair of the Public Data Group said:

“I look forward to working with the PDG member bodies and building on their capabilities and existing best practice to explore new innovative ways of making data more freely accessible to users.”

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said:

“Data is the new raw material of the 21st century. It allows citizens to hold governments to account, drives improvements in public services by informing choice, and provides a feedstock for innovation and growth.

“We promised to be the most transparent government in British history - and we are doing just that. With nearly 9,000 datasets on our flagship portal this open data story is only just beginning.

“We will keep putting more data, of higher quality into the public domain so everyone can reap the benefits of transparency and open data in the future. The prize - better public services and a more prosperous UK - is just too good to ignore.

“And to ensure that privacy concerns are at the centre of all discussions on data releases today we are announcing the appointment of a privacy expert to the Public Sector Transparency Board.”

Notes to editors

  1. Join the #datastrategy conversation on Twitter.

  2. The first Data Strategy Board meeting is scheduled for 11 July where the board will begin to look into maximising the value of data from the Trading Funds for long-term economic and social benefit, including through the release of data free of charge.

  3. The Public Data Group Board will meet on 24 July with their new Chair where the board will discuss the PDG workplan for the forthcoming year.

  4. Stephan Shakespeare Biography

Stephan Shakespeare is CEO and Co-founder of YouGov, the international market research agency. He has been a school-teacher, writer and campaigner, and founded Stephan sits on the Public Policy External Advisory Board of the University of Cambridge, he is co-founder if Opigram, sat on the LSE’s Polis Advisory Board and is a former Justice of the Peace. Stephan studied English at Oxford.

  1. Claudia Arney Biography

Claudia Arney was appointed as a Non-Executive Director of Halfords PLC in January 2011. Previously Claudia was Group Managing Director, Digital at EMAP where she led the development and execution of the online publishing strategy and managed the Public Sector and Media divisions. Prior to this she was Director of the Enterprise and Growth Unit at HM Treasury, and she is a former Executive Director of Goldman Sachs where she worked on new product development and e-publishing. She also worked as the Head of Product Development at FT.Com. She started her career at Mckinsey & Co. Claudia is currently a member of the Advisory Group to the Shareholder Executive of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, an Advisory Board Member of Huawei UK and a Non-Executive Director of Which?

  1. In January 2011 the Government announced its intention to establish a Public Data Corporation to bring together Government bodies and data to improve accessibility to public data and drive further efficiency in the delivery of public services.

  2. In March 2012 the Government announced the response to the consultation on a Data Policy for a Public Data Corporation. The terms of reference for the PDG and DSB can be found at

  3. The Public Data Group will sit within the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and is classified as a Ministerial Advisory body. It will advise Norman Lamb, Minister for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs.

  4. The Data Strategy Board will sit within the Department and will advise David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science, who will consult Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, on all spending decisions and seek agreement on Open Data decisions. You can find out more information at

  5. Companies House have today released a free downloadable bulk data file for open re-use. The data has been released in beta version from the start of this month and can be downloaded at: The release of the data is available to all for all to use freely and consists of a snapshot of data on the Companies Register updated within the first five days every month.

  6. The Government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries.’ It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’ (PDF 1.7MB), published at Budget 2011:

  • To create the most competitive tax system in the G20;

  • To make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business;

  • To encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy;

  • To create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.

Work is underway across Government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the Government wants the economy to travel.

  1. BIS’s online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See []( for more information.

Notes to Editors

Contact Information

Name BIS Press Office Job Title

Division Department for Business, Innovation & Skills Phone




Name Ed Smith Job Title

Division Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Phone 020 7215 5945 Fax



Published 28 June 2012