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Cabinet Office seeks opinions on transparency and open data

The Cabinet Office says it wants the public to have a say on which data sets it releases, as part of its new "commitment to transparency".

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude says everyone is invited to comment on the government's new transparency principles and on the data sets they want to see released.

Maude is leading the new Public Sector Transparency Board, and part of the board's job is to speak to developers, open data experts and businesses on how its transparency principles should be implemented.

The board also has to make sure departments meet deadlines to release data, and make sure open data standards are set and obeyed across the whole public sector.

Also on the transparency board are Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Professor Nigel Shadbolt from Southampton University, an expert on open data, Tom Steinberg, founder of mySociety, and Dr Rufus Pollock from Cambridge University, an economist who helped found the Open Knowledge Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation which promotes open knowledge.

Maude said, "We want transparency to become an absolutely core part of every bit of government business.

"In the spirit of transparency we are asking everyone to comment on our ideas and help us to define these important principles."

Anyone with suggestions for what the transparency principles should be can log on to data.gov.uk to give their opinion.

The board has put forward the following ideas for the principles:

Public data policy and practice will be clearly driven by the public and businesses who want and use the data, including what data is released when and in what form;

  • Public data will be published in reusable, machine-readable form;
  • Public data will be released under the same open licence which enables free reuse, including commercial reuse;
  • Public data will be available and easy to find through a single easy to use online access point at data.gov.uk;
  • Public data will be published using open standards and following the recommendations of the World Wide Web Consortium;
  • Public data underlying the government's own websites will be published in reusable form for others to use;
  • Public data will be timely and fine grained;
  • Release data quickly, and then republish it in linked data form;
  • Public data will be freely available to use in any lawful way;
  • Public bodies should actively encourage the re-use of their public data; and
  • Public bodies should maintain and publish inventories of their data holdings.

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