Public Data Corporation

On 12 January the Government confirmed it was looking to “open up opportunities for innovative developers, businesses and members of the public to generate social and economic growth through the use of data.” The new concept – which for the moment we’re describing as the Public Data Corporation – will be a global first and will help make government-held data much easier to access and use.

Work on this idea is at a very early stage. While we know that we want to introduce a more consistent set of principles around data collection, maintenance, production and charging for users, we need to have a better understanding of what the current – and future – demand is for key government datasets is; how and for what they might be used; and what types of problems users  or potential users face in maximising the use of such data.

If you, or the organisation for which you work, uses this type of information – or think you might want to in the future – then we’d like to hear from you.

Having a better evidence-base for the wider demand for data will help us shape our thoughts on how a Public Data Corporation might work in practice. We want to create an environment which enables the greatest possible use of data, but one which also identifies duplications and overlaps in current data supply to help reduce costs. This will help us deliver real value for the taxpayer who, of course, often funds the collection and maintenance of the data in the first instance.

We’re especially interested in your thoughts on datasets and data products created by public sector organisations that are focused on:

  • registration activities, e.g. registering a business;
  • environmental science issues, including natural hazards;
  • critical infrastructure; and
  • the built environment.

Right now we’re a little less focused on datasets and data products created by public sector organisations operating in the fields of health, education, welfare and criminal justice. However, if you’ve been impressed by something you’ve seen in those fields – a user-friendly process or system, for example – we’re more than happy to hear from you on this too.

This site will be running from 14 February to 11 March. To help structure and stimulate the discussion we’ve come up with a few questions. These are listed below. The hyperlinks will take you to a section of this site where you can respond in free text. If you have further thoughts or more information you’d like to provide that doesn’t relate to our questions, please use the comments section at the foot of this page. We’ve also created an email address – pdcengagement@gmail.com – for those of you who’d prefer to send us an email or other document.

We will be moderating the forum on a daily basis, and would ask that all participants read our moderation policy before joining the discussion. Once the forum has closed we will put together a summary of responses on www.data.gov.uk – ideally by the end of March, depending on the volume of responses we get.

Thank you in anticipation for contributing to this exercise.

The Public Data Corporation Project Team

Questions

1.      Which public sector datasets do you currently make use of?

2.      How easy is it to find out what datasets are held by public sector organisations?

3.      How do you, or would you, decide whether a dataset has value for you or for your organisation? What affects how valuable they are, for example timeliness, granularity, format?

4.      Which datasets are of most value to you or your organisation? Why?

5.      What methods of access to datasets would most benefit you or your organisation?

6.      What gets in the way of you or your organisation accessing datasets or data products?

7.      What are the most exciting applications of datasets or data products you are aware of – here or internationally? We are, again, particularly interested in the following areas: registration activities, environmental science, critical infrastructure and the built environment.

8.      Are there any datasets or products you’d like to see generated? How would you or your organisation use them, and what social or economic benefits do you think they would deliver?

9.      From your perspective, what would success look like for the Public Data Corporation?

10.  Have we got the name for this organisation right?  Do you have any suggestions on naming that might better convey our aims?

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