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Government departments must publish all IT contracts online from July

Rebecca Thomson

Government departments will need to publish all new central government IT contracts online from July this year.

As part of a drive to get more data on the web, prime minister David Cameron wrote to departments today to list the datasets they will need to publish.

In addition to IT contracts, departments will have to publish:

• Historic data on the Combined Online Information System (Coins) database, which lists every item of central government spending.

• All tender documents for contracts over £10,000. They must be published on a single website from September 2010.

• New items of central government spending over £25,000 must be online from November 2010.

• All new central government contracts online in full from January 2011.

• Full information on international development projects over £500, including financial information and project documentation.

Local government is not exempt from the new rules. Councils will have to publish new items of spending over £500, and contracts and tender documents for anything over £500, from January next year.

Local crime data will be published from 2011, and the pay rates of the top-earning civil servants were published today. More junior ranks will be added to this in September.

David Cameron said, "I would be grateful if departments would take immediate action to meet this timetable for data transparency, and to ensure that any data published is made available in an open format so that it can be re-used by third parties." He added the measures are "just the beginning" of the transparency process.

A Public Sector Transparency Board has been established in the Cabinet Office to oversee the implementation of the transparency process. Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude will chair it, and computer scientists Tim Berners-Lee and Nigel Shadbolt will be members. Data transparency expert Tom Steinberg will also be involved.

The board will support departments as they work to hit the publication dates, set up open data standards and publish further datasets on the basis of public demand.


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