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Submitted by: Mr M Coupar

Describe your idea. How does it work and who does it help?

Very simply, it is hard for ordinary people to find out who they should contact for advice, for complaints, for anything official. This information is spread across many different databases that may be private but are most often public, either national or local.

So, what I propose is a to create more or less an index to the UK for day to day issues. A sort of self help book. The contribution of public information can become a legal requirement, while the contribution of private information (especially from professional bodies) could be voluntary at first. Additionaly, I propose starting out with an index purely for determining/advising who is responsible for a given area, item of street furniture etc. Should this prove a success, I propose to follow this up with a similar index for professional services, and so on.

This will help ordinary people and the UK as a whole.

Ordinary people will benefit because right now they often cannot find out who to deal with, and even if they can it takes a lot of precious time and money.

The UK as a whole will benefit through improved efficiency and productivity.

An example of how this might work is my own experience with trying to get street lights fixed on a converted railway line. The police told that Railtrack was responsible, the Highways Agency told me that the County Council was responsible, and the City Council told me they didn't know who was responsible. Eventually I found that the City Parks Department was responsible. But it took hours of my time and was very frustrating. And I belive I was the only person able to get this far to ask for the lights to be fixed.

What information or services do you need?

Stage 1) Maps showing ownership and responsibility for a given area from central and local government, plus any quangos.

Stage 2) Dependent upon stage 1 success.


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The Power of Information Taskforce is helping government become more open, transparent and effective through better use of published information.

This competition is asking for your help in developing better ways to publish the vast swathes of non-personal information that the government collects & creates on your behalf

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