The value of public sector intangible assets amounts to billions of pounds.


Intangible Assets1 (IA) encompass a broad range of assets, for example, data, software, knowledge management systems, business processes, goodwill, licences and intellectual property rights.

Intangible Assets have similar characteristics to tangible assets in that they can be owned or controlled by an organization and may have a monetary value.

The National Asset Register indicates that the value of the public sector IA base is substantial, amounting to several billion pounds.

This website aims to:

  • Help you learn about intangible assets;
  • Help you manage intangible assets and create value from them;
  • Highlight the risks to your organisation if you don't manage IA effectively.

It is directed particularly at finance officers, information officers and project managers as they are likely to hold some level of responsibility for the management of IA.

It should be noted that policies have been developed for the re-use of public information. While the commercialisation of public sector intangible assets might be a legitimate activity these policies and the relevant legislation must be considered.

The content has been developed by a project team comprising:

  • The Intellectual Property Office;
  • Environment Agency;
  • Ministry of Defence;
  • Intellectual Assets Centre, Scotland;
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office Services
  • The National Archives; and
  • Department of Health and NHS National Innovation Centre.

If you would like to be involved in this work, please contact us.

1 There are many variations of definitions of Intangible Assets. The International Accounting Standard Committee IASC 38 defines "Intangible Assets" for accounting purposes as "identifiable non-monetary asset without physical substance". However IP rights may be contained in physical objects. For example, a book, film or computer program may contain copyright material, a logo may be protected by copyright and a trade mark, and a drug may be protected by a patent.

Reviewed 22 July 2010