Office of Public Sector Information

Office of Public Sector Information

Main menu and contents

Supplementary menus and contents

Crown Copyright Licensing Consultation

24 July 2002:

What was the consultation about?

In September 2000, the Government accepted the recommendations of the Cross-cutting Review of the Knowledge Economy. That established HMSO as the regulator for the licensing of Crown copyright information. The review also recommended a public consultation to decide the role and responsibilities of HMSO as the regulatory body. The consultation period ended on 14 January 2002. Thirty-nine organisations and individuals responded. Drawing on their responses, we have constructed a framework for regulating Crown copyright information, which will be implemented progressively during the financial year 2002-03.


On the whole, the responses to the consultation supported the Government’s decision to establish HMSO as the regulator for Crown copyright. There were different views over how heavy regulation should be for regulated bodies and on how effective it could be at promoting Government policy for Crown copyright information. Respondents did not fully endorse the regulation model set out in the consultation document. This model assumed that there would be complaints about alleged breaches in the delegation from the Controller of HMSO to regulated bodies, and that remedies for justified complaints would help to put right general difficulties in meeting the Government’s policy for Crown copyright material. Some respondents thought that the model would be costly for regulated bodies, which would have to pass on their costs to their customers. Others thought that it was too clumsy for fast-moving markets. Some respondents saw that there could be conflicts of interest in how the Controller of HMSO would gather and use external advice.


We changed the model framework to draw on the views and suggestions in the responses. We have recognised that Chief Executives of regulated bodies are the people who must deliver the Government’s commitment to fair trading in information. The new framework relies much less than the model in the consultation document on specific terms of delegation, and much more on a formal verified commitment by Chief Executives, to deliver the Government’s aims of openness, equity and transparency. That crucial change allows the overall design of the regime to be lighter and less intrusive than the original model, but it also gives the Standards team more scope to intervene quickly if there is a problem.

The new regulation function will be introduced in the course of 2002-03. Transitional arrangements for investigating complaints are set out in the Standards section of the site. An analysis of responses is available in pdf format.

The List of Respondents shows those who responded. The Regulatory Framework document shows the framework in full.

If you would like a copy of the responses or a paper copy of the consultation document, the analysis or the new regulatory framework, please contact the OPSI Standards team: