The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has launched an in-depth review of the government's Open Data initiative, examining whether there are better ways it can drive use of its data.
This comprehensive review will explore what opportunities exist to exploit public sector information, and how government departments can best provide their data, on a value-for-money basis.
“We strongly believe in the power of open data as a fuel for social and economic growth. But it is vital that we explore the full potential of public sector information,” said Cabinet Office minister, Francis Maude.
“We will see how we can improve access to this data and create opportunities for innovation, data-driven businesses and services that will benefit everyone.”
The review, which is due to report its findings in spring 2013, will focus on several key issues including how information is currently being used by government and the private sector and how to best develop new data services with public sector information.
It will also examine if there are constraints on developing services in the public sector due to funding models.
Last week, Maude admitted the government had a patchy record when it came to making data available, with some departments less open to the idea than others.
Previously, MPs have questioned the benefit of the Open Data initiative.
In August, the Pubic Accounts Committee criticised the government for dumping large data sets in the public domain, with little forethought about the value.
And earlier this year, government spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, warned too few checks were in place to ensure the money spent on Open Data was being invested wisely.
The new review appears to be an attempt to improve the process, identifying the types of data that will be most useful, and how they can be shared as widely as possible, without imposing too greatly on the departments charged with curating the data.
“I want to explore how we can get better data efficiency from the wealth of information out there and how it can work for businesses and the public sector alike,” said Stephan Shakespeare, chair of the Data Strategy Board, which will lead the review.
Shakespeare's review will examine data sets from Ordnance Survey, the Met Office, Land Registry and Companies, and will see the involvement of civil servants from HM Treasury, the Ministry of Justice, The National Archives, the Cabinet Office and the BIS.
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