Public call for datasets

The last few weeks have seen us deliver on our promise to radically shake-up what transparency means in government. We have already taken those important first steps and released information about people, jobs and salaries that had been previously unavailable data, so that people can start to really hold politicians and government to account.

We’ve set up the Transparency Board to keep pushing the transparency agenda and ensure our commitments continue to be implemented across government as announced by the Prime Minister in his letter to Cabinet Ministers on 29 May. The Board is chaired by Francis Maude the other members are Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, Professor Nigel Shadbolt from Southampton University, Tom Steinberg, founder of mySociety, and Dr Rufus Pollock from Cambridge University, an economist who helped found the Open Knowledge Foundation. The Board is itself transparent and has published the minutes and papers from its inaugural meeting held on 24 June.

The Government’s approach to transparency is both push and pull – we have already pushed out data on money and people to make sure it is automatically available, and are working on the pull aspect by giving people a right to data so that they can ask for the data they want.

As part of this the Transparency Board has identified some frequently requested datasets which include:

  • Land Registry
  • Companies House
  • Integrated Business Register
  • Transport Data include timetables, fare and real time running information
  • Weather information including observations and forecasts
  • Environment Agency data
  • Address register
  • Footpaths

However, the Transparency Board wants to hear from the public what their priorities are. These datasets? Other ones? A combination?

All this on the day when the Government published the public procurement spend survey for 2009 which included local authority and Department of Health figures for the first time in one form.

But what are your top dataset priorities? You tell us!


  1. Comment by Anonymous posted on

    Hi, why not just give us access to ALL the data - and then let us decide what's worth having? hmmm?

    • Replies to Anonymous>

      Comment by Anonymous posted on

      1. Some data takes considerable time and expense to make available. It'd be an enormous waste of resources to publish every little detail then have a fraction of it used.

      2. There's a prioritisation issue. If they're going to chase up datasets which people want but aren't getting released, there's an issue of which datasets they should chase first.
      The answer has to be the potentially most useful ones, which requires estimating which the most useful ones are. I appriciate the full usefulness isn't always apprent before hand, but you've got to start somewhere.

      • Replies to Anonymous>

        Comment by Anonymous posted on

        Nice reply. Not sure I'd have been so polite.

    • Replies to Anonymous>

      Comment by Anonymous posted on

      You already have access to ALL the data, you just don't know what data there is.  If you want some data, send your request under FOI.

  2. Comment by Anonymous posted on

    I would second the call for clear Companies House data, including details of directors - to allow easy identification of where an individual holds board/director positions. 


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