Coalition Promises New ‘Right To Data’

Coalition Promises New ‘Right To Data’

The Prime Minister has outlined plans to make Government more transparent and allow people to hold ministers and public services to account.

In his , David Cameron said he would “rip off the cloak of secrecy” surrounding Government information and help to rebuild trust in politics by establishing a new “right to data”.

As a first step, details of public spending over the past 12 months, information about hospital infections and some of the salaries of senior Whitehall officials will be published next week.

The PM said:

“If there’s one thing I’ve noticed since doing this job, it’s how all the information about government; the money it spends, where it spends it, the results it achieves; how so much of it is locked away in a vault marked sort of private for the eyes of ministers and officials only.

“I think this is ridiculous. It’s your money, your government, you should know what’s going on. So we’re going to rip off that cloak of secrecy and extend transparency as far and as wide as possible. By bringing information out into the open, you’ll be able to hold government and public services to account.”

The podcast was recorded as the Prime Minister returned from a trip to Yorkshire where he made his first major speech since becoming PM. Speaking in Shipley, Mr Cameron set out plans for economic growth and promised to make the coming decade the most “entrepreneurial and dynamic” in Britain’s history.

‘Right to data’

Two weeks ago, the  indicated a new approach towards government data as part of a campaign to “open up government procurement and reduce costs”. IT contracts will be published online and full online disclosure of central government spending over £25,000 will be required.

The coalition says that delivering its central “right to data” objective will allow the public to request and use government-held datasets, which will be published on a regular basis.

As most people in the IT industry already know, the previous government had ambitious plans for open data, and to that end had set up .

Under the new government’s plans, councils will have to publish meeting minutes and local service performance data online, plus the contracts and tender documents of all items of spending over £500.

The coalition also promises: “We will ensure that all data published by public bodies is published in an open and standardised format, so that it can be used easily and with minimal cost by third parties.”

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