When Ed Mayo and Tom Steinberg’s ‘Power of Information review‘ was published in 2007 it rapidly became apparent that this was a significant contribution to thinking about the ways in which government has to adapt itself to a world in which most people regularly use the internet.

The creation of the Task Force in 2008 was part of a series of positive responses by Government to the report. Over the last 9 months, the Task Force has attempted to develop further the agenda set out in the report. The recommendations in this report should therefore be read alongside those in the original report on which they build.

The Taskforce brought together a group from government, industry and the third sector who all share a passion for using ICT to enable better public service delivery.

All members have contributed in a personal capacity rather than on behalf of their respective organisations and this independence of approach is reflected in our conclusions.

The group has itself worked largely through web 2.0 tools – communicating as a web group, publishing our progress via a blog and RSS feed, and producing this draft report on a wiki.

We have been able to:

  • Demonstrate significant latent capacity in the community for innovative information-based applications through the ShowUsABetterWay competition;
  • Raise further the profile of the Power of Information agenda through engagement with central and local government, industry and civil society;
  • Contribute to the public and internal government debates around access to UK geospatial data;
  • Build links with people working on similar agendas in other countries for the mutual exchange of ideas and expertise;
  • Support the creation of social media guidance for civil servants;
  • Examine the usability of key government websites and commission new guidance based on the output of our study;
  • Experiment with using modern web publishing tools for data that is currently published using traditional methods;
  • Develop a model for an architecture for government websites that better supports content re-use;
  • Begin work on the concept of a repository for government information.

We recognise that many people both inside and outside government have been working over several years on projects which provide a sound ‘proof of concept’ for the use of web 2.0 technologies for public service purposes.

The Taskforce believes it has made a further contribution to this body of work. Yet, we are still some way from being able to assert that the public services are making as full a use as possible of the potential offered by evolving internet technologies.

We believe that with this learning from many sources informing our actions, we have the opportunity now to take some major steps forward in making this part of the mainstream of public service activity.

Our recommendations describe the key actions that we believe Government can take in the short to medium term to realise this opportunity and we look forward positively to the debate and responses that they generate.

Richard Allan, Taskforce Chair

You can see Richard Allan discussing the Power of Information work on Youtube.


We have formally adopted the #poit tag that seems to have emerged in the last couple of weeks. You can track the debate using this netvibes panel.

Alternative ways to read our final report

These are copies created from this site. The definitive version of the Taskforce report is to be found on this site.

Created by Taskforce

Alternative ways to read our beta report

These will not mirror the text of this site exactly as they are only snapshots. The definitive version of the text will remain on this site.

Copies provided by third parties


The Taskforce would like to thank all those who have contributed to its work and in particular the secretariat who were drawn from the Cabinet Office, Central Office of Information and the Office of Public Sector Information, part of the National Archives. Many other people inside and outside government have actively contributed by commenting on the blog and beta report and by taking part in various Taskforce activities. You know who you are – please take a * bow *.

We are encouraging the use of #poit as a tag for Taskforce related material on the web so we can all keep contributing. You can keep track of all the comments on this netvibes panel.

Image of RSS feed from Taskforce Blog from Wordle