Prime minister David Cameron has launched what the government describes as a radical plan to open up more information to the general public.
Cameron said in a letter to MPs that accountability is a key element of his administration, and that Whitehall departments will start sharing more information than ever before.
"Greater transparency across government is at the heart of our shared commitment to enable the public to hold politicians and public bodies to account, to reduce the deficit and deliver better value for money in public spending, and to realise significant economic benefits by enabling businesses and non-profit organisations to build innovative applications and web sites using public data," he wrote.
Information published for public scrutiny will include figures on crime, hospital infections and government spending, and will be overseen by Tom Steinberg, founder of MySociety which claims to run most of the best-known democracy and transparency web sites in the UK.
Cameron has set a timetable for openness, and has promised that all government IT contracts will be published online from next month.
"Given the importance of this agenda, the deputy prime minister and I would be grateful if departments would take immediate action to meet this timetable for data transparency, and to ensure that any data is made available in an open format so that it can be reused by third parties," said Cameron.
A new group overseen by Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude will be set up in parliament to monitor the transparency efforts.
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