The Shareholder Executive and HM Treasury are undertaking a review of the trading fund model. The terms of reference have been published today. As the review will be including the areas that Tom and Ed suggested, the Taskforce will be assisting with this review, particularly looking at the value of the data held by the funds and whether the current business models and licencing arrangements are sustainable.
There is a wealth of literature in this area, not only the recent study by three Cambridge academics but also various reports on the Ordnance Survey and books by academics such as Yochai Benkler.
If you had to set our priorities what areas would you have us look at? Is there any research we should be looking at? Please kick off the discussion in the comments.
4 responses to “Trading funds”
Pingback: Free Our Data: the blog » Blog Archive » Trading Funds review: terms of reference
Regarding the Met Office.
Though it may be reasonable that charges for access to data should reflect the cost of acquiring the data some care should be taken in assigning charges and attributing costs.
On the cost side the UK chooses to support ESA in the development and launch of weather satellites – there are other providers. The US, Japan, etc. do not buy from ESA, so it’s likely they’re not the cheapest.
On the charges side. Does weather data increase with value as it ages? It certainly still has a value, e.g. as evidence for court cases and evidence of climate change. Who should own the data after its inital use has been fulfilled? Who should bear the cost of storage and retreival?
This review appears to be missing the most important aspect of all, which is the “Enterprise Model” or “legal and financial structure” within which Trading Funds engage with other stakeholders.
BERR itself appears to have been in denial about the fact that when (as DTI) it introduced the UK Limited Liability Partnership (“LLP”) on 6th April 2001 they inadvertently made conventional enterprise models redundant.
The use of LLP’s as “frameworks” (and not as “Organisations”) allows new mechanisms for partnership working. City of Glasgow has three LLP’s already with at least two more on the way: these are still “Organisations” but illustrate the possibilities.
More to the point, new production/revenue sharing “Capital Partnership” funding mechanisms are possible, as the Hilton group showed a few years ago in a >£1bn development finance deal.
Using a Capital Partnership an investor may become a member (Capital Partner) of a “framework” LLP alongside (say) a Trading Fund (Capital User) and it is then simply possible to create a new class of “Public Equity” consisting of Units of production, or of revenues from the sale of production.
So why sell ownership and control when you can simply sell production or revenues ?
The interesting, but radical, outcome of this enterprise model is that by using it Public Sector bodies can raise finance simply but elegantly without state funding, and without borrowing.
The assumption is, when we say “Private” sector, that assets are owned by a Joint Stock Limited Liability Company or “Corporation”.
Since 6 April 2001 these have essentially been transcended and the Review should take account of that fact.
Pingback: We Can Show Them A Better Way » the billblog