Public Data Corporation Killed

December 15, 2011 1:57 PM

Today I attended the Government’s meeting on their open data plan. The measures were announced in the Autumn Statement and include opening up more data, allowing for the releasing of transport and health data as a priority, and the creation of the Open Data Institute. The Government made even more of a commitment to open already created data that it holds in various forms. This is good news for many reasons, including public service efficiency and the growth of the innovation economy.

The most important aspect of the Autumn Statement was the omission of the Public Data Corporation. A consultation was launched late in the summer to discuss the proposal to set up a fee charging organisation which would aggregate government data and charge for open data which we the taxpayers have already paid for. The Public Data Corporation proposal would also seek out private sector investment to eventually privatise a public body with open data. There were many other details discussed in this consultation, but the bottom line was that the government sought a way to seek direct revenue from open data instead of indirect revenue through innovation of free and freely available open data.

In our consultation response we made the argument for the free release of open data and discussed the fact that the Public Data Corporation did not need to be created. We cited a number of compelling case studies in our argument - further details can be found in our report here.

So today at the Government meeting Francis Maude said that the government itself is moving away from the charging model proposed in the Public Data Corporation consultation. Instead, the Open Data Institute has been created to bring together academia, public sector, and private enterprises so that new ways of opening up data can be discussed and implemented. We will need to keep close watch and make sure that any vestiges of the Public Data Corporation don’t creep into the Open Data Institute or the newly announced Open Data Group. But for now the Public Data Corporation will not be created.Today I attended the Government’s meeting on their open data plan. The measures were announced in the Autumn Statement and include opening up more data, allowing for the releasing of transport and health data as a priority, and the creation of the Open Data Institute. The Government made even more of a commitment to open already created data that it holds in various forms. This is good news for many reasons, including public service efficiency and the growth of the innovation economy.

The most important aspect of the Autumn Statement was the omission of the Public Data Corporation. A consultation was launched late in the summer to discuss the proposal to set up a fee charging organisation which would aggregate government data and charge for open data which we the taxpayers have already paid for. The Public Data Corporation proposal would also seek out private sector investment to eventually privatise a public body with open data. There were many other details discussed in this consultation, but the bottom line was that the government sought a way to seek direct revenue from open data instead of indirect revenue through innovation of free and freely available open data.

In our consultation response we made the argument for the free release of open data and discussed the fact that the Public Data Corporation did not need to be created. We cited a number of compelling case studies in our argument - further details can be found in our report here.

So today at the Government meeting Francis Maude said that the government itself is moving away from the charging model proposed in the Public Data Corporation consultation. Instead, the Open Data Institute has been created to bring together academia, public sector, and private enterprises so that new ways of opening up data can be discussed and implemented. We will need to keep close watch and make sure that any vestiges of the Public Data Corporation don’t creep into the Open Data Institute or the newly announced Open Data Group. But for now the Public Data Corporation will not be created.

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