31 May 2010
In a radical shake-up of government transparency the Cabinet Office today published the salaries of the highest-earning senior civil servants on its website.
The name, job title, grade and salary level of senior civil servants across Whitehall with salaries more than £150,000 was released – the first time some of this information has ever been made public.
Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, acting on commitments made in the Coalition Agreement, has overseen the publication. The release of key government datasets will enable people to hold politicians and public bodies to account.
The Minister will also chair the new Public Sector Transparency Board based at the Cabinet Office, which will drive the Government’s cross government transparency agenda. The Board will be responsible for setting open data standards across the public sector and developing the legal Right to Data.
Other board members will include Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, Professor Nigel Shadbolt, from the University of Southampton, and Tom Steinberg, founder of mysociety – some of the country’s leading experts and advocates on transparency and open data.
Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said today’s announcement would open up the corridors of power. He said:
“Transparency is at the heart of the Government's programme, which is why the Cabinet Office, at the heart of government is taking the lead. All departments will open up their data in the weeks ahead.
“We are pulling back the curtains to let light into the corridors of power. By being open and accountable we can start to win back people’s trust. Openness will not be comfortable for us in government; but it will enable the public to hold our feet to the fire. This way lies better government. Transparency is key to our efficiency drive, and will enable the public to help us to deliver better value for money in public spending.
“Today is just the start of what we plan to do. We are determined to set an example for the wider public sector, and to create a ‘right to data’ as a core part of government business.
“By freeing up public sector datasets for others to reuse, inventive people will be able to build innovative applications and websites which will bring significant economic benefit. A Cambridge University study suggested that this could contribute an additional £6 billion to the UK's economy.”
The Public Sector Transparency Board will support and challenge public sector bodies in the implementation of transparency and open data – and it will listen to the public and drive through the opening up of the most wanted data sets. It will consist of a mix of external experts and data users, and public sector data specialists.
Later this week the Cabinet Office will also publish organisation charts of its senior civil servants with their contact details.
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