Press release

New data releases mark an era of open data

New public data releases will help drive improvements in services, contribute to growth and innovation and drive the open data revolution.

28 June 2012 

CAB 058-12 

A tidal wave of new data releases covering health, education and work will help drive improvements in public services, contribute to growth and innovation, and put the citizen at the heart of the open data revolution, the Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude announced today.

Today’s Open Data White Paper sets out how the government will ensure that everybody can benefit from open data by making data held by the public sector more accessible and usable. The paper will be published alongside a series of exciting new commitments from across government to release more data. The data has the ability to change people’s lives for the better and will give businesses the raw material they need to create new products and services, which will in turn create jobs and growth.

Innovative new data release commitments made today include:

  • information showing GP practice performance in handling cancer cases, enabling patients to compare survival rates between neighbouring practices;
  • increasing transparency around grant funding by publishing data on which organisations receive public money from Civil Society Programmes;
  • data on the management and use of EU funds in the UK to increase accountability and encourage better management of EU funds; and
  • new datasets which show the results of international aid projects and detailed maps of aid projects, so people can see where money is being spent.

As well as marking commitments to new data releases, the White Paper also presents clear actions the government is taking to ensure data is as useful as it can be. This will ensure that the full potential of data to empower citizens, foster innovation and growth, and reform public services is unleashed.

We will strengthen people’s access to data and improve the usability of data through the following measures:

  • the Public Data Principles, which set out that public data policy will be driven by the public and businesses who want and use the data, will be officially adopted as government policy;
  • open data released by government will be marked against inventor of the world wide web Tim Berners-Lee’s 5 Star Scheme for data quality and reusability; and
  • a complete overhaul of the data.gov.uk site to include better search facilities, simpler ways to access information, an advanced GIS data search (including map previewing) and better tools for developers, such as API access to the catalogue holdings.

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 data.gov.uk the 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.

The power of previous data releases to change people’s everyday lives is clear- for example the crime maps based on Home Office data are enabling communities to track crime in their area and empowering them to hold their local force and criminal justice agencies to account. To improve local engagement with the justice system, the Ministry of Justice has today announced that it will explore making a greater range of information available on criminal court listings, such as the offence charged.

The White Paper will include a comprehensive and independently chaired review of the use, re-use, funding and regulation of Public Sector Information (PSI). The government’s general principles for the use of PSI are that data should be provided free wherever appropriate and possible, or at a fair price where it is costly for the public sector to provide it, or where it is fairer to the UK taxpayer to secure value from it. This review will ensure that the government is addressing the use and reuse of PSI more broadly, given the pace of change and expanding opportunities in this area.

The White Paper also shows how the government is working with forward-thinking organisations or businesses that are open about their practices and publish data on their outcomes to drive positive change. One example of this is the announcement from the English Care Community Association that from autumn 2012 domiciliary and residential care home providers who are signed up to the industry-led Transparency and Quality Compact will publish data that will enable members of the public to make more informed choices about the care they use.

Today’s White Paper also sets out the government’s commitment to rigorously protect the public’s right to privacy and safeguard people’s data. To ensure privacy is not considered as an afterthought but at the beginning of all discussions concerning the release of new data, a privacy expert will be appointed to the Public Sector Transparency Board to provide the latest expertise on privacy measures.

Notes to editors

1. The ‘Open Data White Paper - Unleashing the Potential’ and each departmental Open Data Strategy can be found here.

2. The Public Data Principles can be found here. The Five Star Scheme can be found here

3. Examples of apps developed using data releases:

ITO World Ltd

ITO World Ltd was formed in 2006 to provide web-based services for transport professionals and transport users. It covers all forms of transport as well as everyone and everything that travels.
Its services are based on an advanced multi-modal model of the UK’s transport system, which includes roads and public transport, displaying the results using state-of-the-art visual effects techniques.
Using Open Data, ITO has already built a global reputation with commercial opportunities in many countries. The business has public transport information for all of the UK and has recently added road casualty data for over 400,000 fatal crashes in the UK and USA.  In the past month ITO has served 445,495 web pages relating to 289,459 visits from 182 countries/territories. ITO believes that the latest open data releases from the Department for Transport will help ITO strengthen its offer to customers. Contact Matt Dolan: 07891 000054

GP Ratings, FineFettle Apps

FineFettleApps launched GP Ratings in June 2012, the new iPhone app that helps patients locate the best local GP surgeries. The iPhone app rates all 8,344 GP Surgeries in England by mining the 11 million responses from the Department of Health’s national GP Patient Survey.  With an average of 191 patient responses per question, app users can now make informed choices about their healthcare.

Patients enter their postcode or use the inbuilt GPS technology to locate their closest GP surgeries. The resulting list of local surgeries is star rated enabling users make detailed comparisons between healthcare providers. The app displays the ratings provided for the following questions:

  • Would patients recommend their GP Surgery to others?
  • Are patients able to see a Dr. within 2 working days?
  • Are patients satisfied with their ability to see a preferred Dr.
  • Are patients satisfied with the care they received?
  • Do patients have confidence and trust in their Dr.?
  • Do patients feel their Dr. involves them in decisions about their care?
  • Are patients happy with the surgery opening hours?

Contact Mark Barrett: 07941 021 583

4. The new data release commitments made today build on the government’s open data achievements to date. Over the last two years the government has already released new items of government spend over £25k published online; new items of local government spend over £500 published on a council-by-council basis; 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 Senior Civil Servants with salaries more than £150k.

5. The short collection of case studies published on our new Open Data Innovation Community shows that there are already a number of established and emerging businesses using Open Data to create new products and services.  We are inviting people to help us build the evidence base by telling us how they are using Open Data to create new applications and derive commercial value.

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