The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, has today called for the British people to nominate which new government datasets they would like to see released on data.gov.uk [external website] .
In the latest development in the drive to make government as transparent as possible, the Cabinet Office is inviting everyone to log on to data.gov.uk and make suggestions on which public datasets could be made available for reuse. The call came in the wake of a meeting of the Public Sector Transparency Board, which aims to drive forward the transparency agenda and make sure that government departments and Non Departmental Public Bodies release datasets on the site as soon as possible so that people have the information.
Established by the Prime Minister, the Board is charged with making transparency a core part of all government business and ensuring that all central government departments meet tight new deadlines for releasing key public datasets. In addition, it is responsible for setting open data standards across the whole of the public sector, listening to what the public wants and then opening up the most wanted datasets as a priority.
The most requested datasets already identified by the Board include the Land Registry, Companies House, the Integrated Business Register, transport data, weather information and Environment Agency data.
Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said:
We promised a new approach to government - one that puts transparency at the very heart of everything we do. As part of our commitment to transparency this government has already published a series of datasets which have never been available to the public before. But it’s not just a one way process: I want people to give their ideas on what datasets they want to see released and not just wait for us to publish.
As the saying goes, information is power. By making datasets freely available people are more able to hold public bodies to account and challenge them. This is just the start of process which will only end when transparency and openness are an integral part of the way public bodies operate and serve their customers.
As part of this transparency drive the government has today also published procurement spend by English local authorities and the Department of Health. This has been published for the first time along with spend for central government departments and Arms Length Bodies which was published in “Collaborative Procurement: Publication of Spend Data” (on 24 March).
The Public Sector Procurement Expenditure Survey 2009 gives a comprehensive account of the way in which public bodies spent £86,833 million of taxpayers’ money in 2009. Categories of spend include information and communications technology, travel, vehicles, marketing, waste management and construction. By making available this management information in one coherent form, the government is helping to make even more public bodies more open, so that the public is better informed to hold them to account.
Notes to editors
- Anyone can make suggestions about which datasets they wish to see be made public by going to www.data.gov.uk/data [external website] and clicking on the “request new data” button.
- The Prime Minister announced the new Public Sector Transparency Board on 1 June. It is based in the Cabinet Office and is chaired by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude.
- The members of the Public Sector Transparency Board are Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web; Professor Nigel Shadbolt of Southampton University; Tom Steinberg, founder of mySociety; and Dr Rufus Pollock of Cambridge University.
- The principles of the Public Sector Transparency Board [external website] are online.
“Public Sector Procurement Expenditure Survey 2009” [external website] is available.
- The procurement figures are management information; they are not official statistics.
- We do not have a regional breakdown for the English local authority figures. The figures presented in the survey are based on a significant sample of spend by English local authorities. This is then extrapolated to the figure in “Public Sector Procurement Expenditure Survey 2009”. In addition, the figures for the Department for Health do not include the NHS.
- For media questions about the “Public Sector Procurement Expenditure Survey 2009”, please call the Office of Government Commerce Press Office on 020 7271 1376.
- For questions about nominating datasets visit the Cabinet Office Press page.