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Government urged to devise national data strategy

Kathleen Hall

The government has been urged to devise a national data strategy, following the launch of a review into the better use of public sector information.

The review into the use of public sector information (PSI) by YouGov CEO Stephan Shakespeare has laid out recommendations for how public sector information can improve government services and unlock economic growth.

A Deloitte analysis has been published alongside the review, which estimates the direct value of PSI at around £1.8bn, with wider social and economic benefits taking that up to around £6.8bn.

Among the recommendations, the review called on the government to devise and implement a National Data Strategy.

Shakespeare said: “Britain has a competitive advantage in that we have centralised public services that collect vast amounts of data, the value of which remains largely untapped.”

The review also recommended that government release data more quickly - even when incomplete, while simultaneously improving the quality and usability of data it puts into the public domain.

The Open Data Institute (ODI) said it welcomed the findings

Gavin Starks, CEO of the ODI said: “This is the time to be bold and ambitious. What happens now on the back of this report is crucial in unlocking the value of open data. If the government is serious about making data open, it has to be made available and fast.”

Nigel Shadbolt, the ODI’s chairman also welcomed the recommendations by Shakespeare in establishing access to National Core Reference Data, the most important data held by each government department and other publicly funded bodies.

 “We are pleased that the report highlights the importance of a national core data function. But what needs to happen now is to identify core data sets and ensure they are published – that calls for clear leadership from the government.

“As with the recent executive order in the US, the ODI would like to see a legal duty placed on public bodies to create and maintain the core reference data."


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