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ODUG Response to Consultation on the UK implementation of the EU Directive on the re-use of public sector information

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The Open Data User Group (ODUG) is pleased to have the opportunity to comment on the UK Government’s proposed implementation of the amended EU Directive on the re-use of Public Sector Information (PSI) (Directive 2013/37/EU), a consultation from The National Archives.

See ODUG’s full response to the consultation. In summary we support the proposal that an existing regulator should be empowered to make legally binding decisions with appeal to a First-tier Tribunal. However, we have concerns over the proposed implementation, also the lack of clarity in these proposals around the calculations by which charges above marginal costs will be determined in cases where PSI Holders (PSIHs) are allowed to charge for data use.

We make reference in this response to the recent complaint made to the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) by 77M Ltd. against the Ordnance Survey (OS) and the subsequent review, by  the Advisory Panel on Public Sector Information (APPSI) into OPSIs handling of this complaint.

The complaint here relates back to previous benefits cases ODUG published in May and July 2013 about the detrimental impact of OS Derived Data restrictions on the re-use of PSI, in this case the Land Registry’s INSPIRE Cadastral Polygon dataset which was promised for release as Open Data in December 2012 and was finally released for non-commercial use in September 2013. Wider use of this data has, sadly, been made subject to an OS derived data license, i.e. paid for data. It is the complexity of the OS license and anticompetitive pricing of this (in comparison with OS’s own Polygon data) which is the subject of 77ms ongoing complaint.

This is a case study of what happens with the current PSI framework when things do not go well. The process has taken over two years, the original complaint has yet to be resolved and we dread to think how much public resource has been poured into this one issue, by the primary PSIH – the Land Registry, by the OS, by OPSI, by APPSI and by the complainant 77M, a small independent business.

ODUG robustly supports the proposal that there should be strong independent regulation in this area and believes the Information Commissioner’s Office might be best placed to exercise this role. This will reduce cost and efficiency burdens for both PSI re-users and public sector bodies and should help open up more Open Data for wider economic benefit.

Your comments are welcome below, as always ….

Heather Savory

Chair, ODUG

October 2014

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