UK Seeks Public Comments on Open Data Policy

5 August 2011

The British government Aug. 4 launched an open data consultation paper titled “Making Open Data Real – A Public Consultation.”

The paper sets out “proposals for embedding a culture of openness and transparency in public services.”

The stated goal is to explore “how we might create the `pull’ (a right to data) and the `push’ (a presumption of publication) that will underpin the further development of Open Government in the UK.”

The consultation invites views on: 

How we might enhance a “right to data”, establishing stronger rights for individuals, businesses and other actors to obtain data from public bodies and about public services; 

How to set transparency standards that enforce this right to data; 

How public bodies and providers of public services might be held to account for delivering Open Data; 

How we might ensure collection and publication of the most useful data; 

How we might make the internal workings of government and the public sector more open; 

How far there is a role for government to stimulate enterprise and market making in the use of Open Data. 

The paper notes that this fall the UK FOIA is due to undergo review and that negotiations on a new Data Protection Instrument are due to start later this year. 

“This document does not seek to anticipate these reviews, but seeks views on how the existing framework could be improved or built upon to support the agenda.”

It says further:

The key policy challenge question is how can we establish a stronger presumption in favour of the publication of data than that which currently exists?  How do we ensure that valuable data and data which serves the public interest is more readily available from a wider range of bodies? 

 A series of policy options are also advanced for discussion.

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