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Government invests further £8m in open data strategy

12 Dec 2012
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The government is investing a further £8m in its open data strategy to try and encourage the public sector to make data available for public use.

This investment will include the launch of a new £7.5m Data Strategy Board Breakthrough Fund, which will help government departments, agencies and local authorities overcome short term technical barriers to releasing data.

The government has argued companies can use the increasing amount of public sector information to develop commercial opportunities.

Additionally, a new £850,000 Open Data Immersion Programme will support companies looking to reuse data to develop ideas for new products and services.

"This new funding will help us to exploit the power of open data to fuel social and economic growth. It will free up more data for commercial exploitation and help drive innovation in public services," said Francis Maude, Cabinet Office minister.

"But transparency is also about making government better by sharpening accountability. That is why today we are also publishing information showing how departments are meeting their own demanding open data obligations. We are at the start of this process and it has never been done before."

A written statement published today shows that over a third of government departments, including their arms-length bodies, have met or are on track to meet all their open data commitments instigated since May 2010.

Recently Maude, speaking at an event in London attended by V3, said there are inconsistencies across government departments in how much data they are publishing.

Maude also acknowledged the need for departments to set higher standards in the formats used to publish information. Certain formats, like PDF documents, do not allow data to be easily consumed or re-used, for example.

The open data strategy was launched by the government in 2009. Since then the government has mainly trumpeted the success of the strategy by highlighting how businesses have used the newly-available data to improve public services and create new products.

The names of businesses using open data are available on the Open Data Innovation Community hub.

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Rosalie Marshall

Rosalie Marshall is the special projects editor and chief reporter at V3. Previously she was a reporter for IT Week and channel editor for online television site Rosalie covers government IT, business applications, IT skills, open source technology and social networks.

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