Charging for PDC information

This chapter explores options for charging for PDC information which best balance increasing access to data, providing more data free for re-use and ensuring affordability and value for money and maintaining a sustainable business model for a PDC.

A PDC is likely to include some of the small number of public sector organisations which can charge for data and information. In order to balance Government’s objectives around increasing access to data, making more data freely available year on year, considerations of affordability and the potential need to attract external capital, it is likely that a mixed charging model will be needed for PDC i.e. some data available for free, some charged for. The Government’s aim for a PDC is to ensure that charging is fair and transparent, and that the appropriate incentives are in place to encourage increased access to and release of data, where possible at lower or no cost.

The consultation considers three broad options for charging for data:

  • Status quo plus commitment to free: under this option bodies within a PDC would continue to operate under the existing legal and policy framework, but with a commitment to make more data available free for re-use.
  • Harmonisation and Simplification: under this option some data would be made available for free; for all PDC information within the public task (see Para 3.8), there would be a single price for a particular unit of PDC information and this price would apply to all uses of the information; there would be an ability to charge full cost plus an appropriate rate of return for PDC information and services outside the public task. 
  • Freemium: this model is most often used in software and web-based services and works through a basic-level free offer, while charging for advanced features, functionality or related products.

You can feed your comments into the consultation by post, email, or online through Survey Monkey. These comments will not be made public.

If you would like to take part in the debate with other users of this consultation, or publicly comment on the consultation questions, you can share your views by posting a comment in the right-hand box.

You can read the individual chapter below, or download the consultation document here.

A Consultation on Data Policy for a Public Data Corporation

Chapter 5 Questions
1.  How do you think Government should best balance its objectives around increasing access to data and providing more freely available data for re-use year on year within the constraints of affordability? Please provide evidence to support your answer where possible.

2.  Are there particular datasets or information that you believe would create particular economic or social benefits if they were available free for use and re-use? Who would these benefit and how? Please provide evidence to support your answer where possible.

3.  What do you think the impacts of the three options would be for you and/or other groups outlined above? Please provide evidence to support your answer where possible.

4.  A further variation of any of the options could be to encourage PDC and its constituent parts to make better use of the flexibility to develop commercial data products and services outside of their public task. What do you think the impacts of this might be?

5.  Are there any alternative options that might balance Government’s objectives which are not covered here? Please provide details and evidence to support your response where possible.

Return to the consultation document

One Response to Charging for PDC information

  1. Leonard Gore says:

    What will determine which data is for free and which is chargeable?
    What is meant by full cost in the statement “ability to charge full cost plus an appropriate rate of return”?