In this video, Emer Coleman, deputy director of digital engagement at the Government Digital Service, discusses the benefits of open data.
Emer Coleman previously worked at the London Data Store, where she helped Transport for London make transport data available for iPhone and Android apps.
Coleman says there are many benefits to opening up data, not just in terms of greater transparency, but also in supporting and boosting the economy.
"SMEs are building up apps businesses and returning tax revenue to the economy," says Coleman.
She says local government has lots of data and sometimes tries to guess what is important. "Often apps emerge that you cannot predict. At City Hall we released all our financial data. Within two days someone had built an app that allows you to see what the GLA (Greater London Authority) is spending money on."
She says social media is useful in the public sector, because it can be used as a listening tool, rather than to broadcast information. "In emergency situations, like the London riots, citizens helped the government to be more effective."
Coleman is a speaker at the Open Data Cities Conference.