News story

PM sets ambitious open data agenda

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

The Prime Minister has today committed to publishing key data on the National Health Service, schools, criminal courts and transport. External site: [](

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 PM said transparency was “at the heart of the Government’s agenda”.

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 will meet public service professionals and data industry representatives on Thursday morning to outline the new commitments.

Francis Maude said: 

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.” 

The PM’s letter commits the Government to publishing the data sets for the NHS, education and skills, sentencing and transport. There is also a commitment to publish Government financial information including government procurement card spend data above £500.

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.