“Send us your comments” says new Transparency Board

Francis Maude; Crown copyright

25 June 2010

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude has said that everyone will be invited to comment on new principles for transparency and open data and put forward new suggestions for data sets they want to see released.

Mr Maude made the announcement following the first meeting of the new Public Sector Transparency Board, where it was agreed one of their first priorities will be defining clear principles for the implementation of the Government’s transparency commitments across the public sector. Since part of the Board’s remit is to engage with developers, open data experts and business on how transparency should be implemented, the Board decided to publish a first draft immediately on data.gov.uk for comment and improvement.

The Board was set up by the Prime Minister to drive forward the Government’s transparency agenda, making it a core part of all government business and ensure that all Whitehall departments meet the new tight deadlines set for releasing key public datasets.  In addition, it is responsible for setting open data standards across the whole public sector, listening to what the public wants and then driving through the opening up of the most needed data sets.

Chaired by Mr Maude, the other members of the Transparency Board are Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, Professor Nigel Shadbolt from Southampton University, an expert on open data, Tom Steinberg, founder of mySociety, and Dr Rufus Pollock from Cambridge University, an economist who helped found the Open Knowledge Foundation, a not for profit organisation which promotes open knowledge in all its forms.

The Minister for the Cabinet Office said:

In just a few weeks this Government has published a whole range of data sets that have never been available to the public before.  But we don’t want this to be about a few releases, we want transparency to become an absolutely core part of every bit of government business. That is why we have asked some of the country’s and the world’s greatest experts in this field to help us take this work forward quickly here in central government and across the whole of the public sector.

“And in the spirit of transparency we are asking everyone to comment on our ideas and help us to define these important principles. Anyone who wants to will be able to put forward their suggestions for what the principles should be by logging on to data.gov.uk.”

The principles the Board has put forward for wider comment are:

  • Public data policy and practice will be clearly driven by the public and businesses who want and use the data, including what data is released when and in what form;
  • Public data will be published in reusable, machine-readable form;
  • Public data will be released under the same open licence which enables free reuse, including commercial reuse;
  • Public data will be available and easy to find through a single easy to use online access point (www.data.gov.uk)
  • Public data will be published using open standards and following the recommendations of the World Wide Web Consortium;
  • Public data underlying the Government's own websites will be published in reusable form for others to use;
  • Public data will be timely and fine grained;
  • Release data quickly, and then republish it in linked data form;
  • Public data will be freely available to use in any lawful way;
  • Public bodies should actively encourage the re-use of their public data; and
  • Public bodies should maintain and publish inventories of their data holdings.

CAB 107-10

Notes to Editors

  1. The Prime Minister announced the new Public Sector Transparency Board on 1 June. It is based at the Cabinet Office and is chaired by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude.
  2. The other Board members are: Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, Professor Nigel Shadbolt of Southampton University, an expert on open data, Tom Steinberg, founder of mySociety, and Dr Rufus Pollock of Cambridge University. For further details on the Board, see www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk.
  3. The remit of Transparency Board is to support and challenge public sector bodies to deliver and implement the Government’s transparency and open data agenda; set open data standards across the public sector; further develop the 'right to data' and advise on its implementation in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice; and drive through the publication of further datasets on the basis of public demand ensuring that any data published is made available in an open format so that it can be re-used by third parties.
  4. For biographies and pictures of the Board members please see www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk.
  5. To view the suggestions of the Transparency Board and put forward suggestions on public data principles log on to www.data.gov.uk [external website].
  6. For Cabinet Office press office contact details, visit the press office page.
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