RE: UK Government's public data principles ("Smarter Government") [UNCLASSIFIED]

A good start, but why not include something like "every system development should take this into account at the design phase" because the cost of retrofitting the principles after the development is finished could be excessive.




Kerry Webb
Policy Office
InTACT, ACT Government



From: [] On Behalf Of Sheridan, John
Sent: Tuesday, 8 December 2009 12:17 AM
Subject: UK Government's public data principles ("Smarter Government") [UNCLASSIFIED] 


It's clearly a day for government publications on open government data and Gov 2.0. So, the UK Government has today published a detailed set of policy proposals, entitled "Smarter Government".


This is a formal statement of policy and the following extracts will be of particular interest to people on this list. Firstly there are a set of public data principles. These are very significant for this group I believe, as the W3C is specifically referenced.


"Commitments: government's public data principles


'Public data' are 'government-held non-personal data that are collected or generated in the course of public service delivery'.


Our public data principles state that:


* Public data will be published in reusable, machine readable form

* Public data will be available and easy to find through a single easy to use online access point (

* Public data will be published using open standards and following the recommendations of the World Wide Web Consortium

* Any 'raw' dataset will be represented in linked data form

* More public data will be released under an open licence which enables free reuse, including commercial reuse

* Data underlying the Government's own websites will be published in reusable form for others to use

* Personal, classified, commercially sensitive and third-party data will continue to be protected."


There is also a longer narrative, which I have included below.


"1.3. radically opening up data and promoting transparency


Entitlements guarantee access to and quality of services, and digital technology enables more services to be joined up and online. It is equally vital to use new technology to harness people's appetite and ability to drive up service standards. In the past, much public service improvement was driven by the force of government targets set by central government. In the future, much more of the pressure for improvement can come from the local level.


Ultimately, a more informed citizen is a more empowered citizen. In a modern democracy citizens rightly expect government to show where money has been spent and what the results have been. With the interactive capabilities of the web, government can offer citizens and communities the chance to pass comment on services in real time. The website encourages residents to report graffiti and fly-tipping for quick removal, and since its launch there has been an 8% decrease in graffiti and 30% reduction in complaints. The new online crime maps which went live in October 2009 mean that for the first time everyone in the country can search by postcode for facts about crime in their area and what is being done by the police and courts to deal with it.


Across the UK both informal and professional groups use the internet to share information and drive change. Teachers, for example, share lesson plans through the TES Connect resource to save time and to learn from others.22 Most recently, volunteers have updated base maps on the Open Street Map website to show where roads and bridges have been blocked by flooding or damage.23 Many local councils offer communities the opportunity to propose projects that offenders work on as part of Community Payback and to choose how assets seized from criminals are spent. Building on crime mapping, the Home Office is piloting ways to allow people to use police data on late-night incidents to help them choose the safest routes home - and to post travel tips for others.


Data can also be used in innovative ways that bring economic benefits to citizens and businesses by releasing untapped enterprise and entrepreneurship. Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt predict a significant increase in economic growth if more publicly held data are released for reuse. A study by the University of Cambridge found that the growth to the UK economy from freely releasing just a subset of the public sector data that are currently sold could be 160 million in the first year alone. And from a Cabinet Office pilot which involved better access to government data, developers were able to create new tools to better inform the public:


* Within a day of bike accident data being published online, it had been added to maps to help cyclists to make decisions about routes they take.

* After NHS dental surgery data went live, an iPhone application was created to show people the nearest surgery to any current location.


Public services are run and assessed on objective, non-personal 'public data' that are generated in the course of service delivery. The taxpayer has already paid for its collection, but does not always have the right to access it. Enabling access on the terms of our public data principles (see box) will create opportunities for third parties to develop innovations using free government data."



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Received on Tuesday, 8 December 2009 01:10:22 UTC