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Government seeks public opinion on open data policy

Kathleen Hall

The government has launched a public consultation on its open data policy and the Public Data Corporation (PDC), which was created to house public sector datasets.

The PDC is due to be launched in December and is intended to create opportunities for developers, businesses and members of the public to make use of public sector data. The government is aiming to have its policy framework in place for open data and the PDC by autumn.

However, concerns have been raised that not all the data contained within the PDC will be made freely available. Earlier this year Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said there was potential for the government to create revenue by selling some the PDC data.

Professor Nigel Shadbolt of the government's Transparency Board, said: "These consultations are important for the future of open data in the UK. I urge anyone who cares about our country's information infrastructure or the potential for economic growth and public service accountability to give their views and suggestions".

Tim Kelsey, the government's adviser on transparency and open data, recently suggested that the UK's economy could benefit more by making all PDC free.

Business minister Edward Davey said: "A clear data policy for the new Public Data Corporation is a necessary first step, and we want to hear people's views on how it should work."

The online consultation will ask for public views on the following:

How government might enhance a "right to data", establishing stronger rights for individuals, businesses and other actors to obtain data from public service providers;

How to set transparency standards that enforce this right to data;

How public service providers might be held to account for delivering open data;

How to ensure collection and publication of the most useful data;

How to make the internal workings of government and the public sector more open; and

How far there is a role for government to stimulate enterprise and market-making in the use of open data.

Click here to comment on the government's open data consultation and its PDC policy.


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