Transparency - overview

data image; David McCandless; Crown copyright

Openness and transparency has the potential to transform government. It can strengthen people's trust in government and encourage greater public participation in decision-making.

Transparency is also a key part of this Government's efficiency and reform agenda. By being open and accountable we will:

  • enable the public to hold politicians and public bodies to account
  • deliver better value for money in public spending
  • realise significant economic benefits by enabling businesses and non-profit organisations to build innovative applications and websites using public data

The Public Sector Transparency Board has been set up in the Cabinet Office to help embed the transparency agenda across government as a core part of all governmental business. It has also committed to establishing a legal right to data.

The Board will set an example to the wider public sector on transparency. It will support and challenge public sector bodies in the implementation of transparency and open data standards, and it will listen to the public and drive through the provision of the most wanted data sets.

The Transparency Board is chaired by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude. Other board members include Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, Tom Steinberg, founder of mysociety, Professor Nigel Shadbolt from the University of Southampton and Rufus Pollock, Cofounder of the Open Knowledge Foundation.


Freeing up public data and putting it in people's hands can help them have more of a say in the reform of public services.

Making more public data available for re-use will also realise social and economic benefits by enabling the growth of new, innovative information-based businesses. This will help make the UK an attractive location for the global service and software business sectors.

We are releasing public sector data in open and standardised formats on [external website]. This means people can use it easily and with minimal cost to review, examine and build on information about our country and communities – information on local crime statistics, hospital infection rates, school results and much more.

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