Category Archives: Announcements

Ordnance Survey Proposals

The Ordnance Survey has now published proposals to make changes to the way it makes its data available in a new Business Strategy.

The key aims are described by the OS as:

Within this framework, it has been agreed with Ministers to focus the business around five key areas. These are:

1. Promote innovation for economic benefit and social engagement
2. Increase the use of Ordnance Survey data
3. Support the sharing of information across the whole of the public sector
4. Increase efficiency to develop a sustainable business for the future
5. Enhance value through the creation of an innovative trading entity

The overall aim of this new business strategy is to provide the best balance between making information more widely available and creating a sustainable future for Ordnance Survey and the wider market.

The document is open for comment and is already attracting some interesting feedback.

Richard Allan, Taskforce Chair



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Improving Government Websites

The Central Office of Information (COI) has been working with Cabinet Office to respond to audits of the government web estate.

An important part of this is the development of guidance to assess the quality and value of government websites.

They have now published the guidance and are inviting comments on it until 7th April 2009.

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Final Report

We have now published the final version of the Taskforce report and will be circulating this as widely as we can.

The Cabinet Office site where it is published has now been closed for comments but feedback on the report is still welcome here on the blog.

A netvibes panel has also been created to track the #poit tag though this is not exclusive to our work so please ignore other unrelated content that sneaks in.

The next stage is for the government to give an official response to the report through Cabinet Office Minister Tom Watson MP.

Richard Allan, Taskforce Chair


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Report Update 2

The editing and presentation of the final report has taken longer than originally anticipated so it could not appear this week.

Our aim is to preserve all the beta version text and comments so this can still be read online along with the final report. And we are trying to create good clean document copies in various formats. All this is non-trival for the small Taskforce team to do but we are nearly there now.

In the meantime, you may be interested in looking at the UK government’s updated open source software policy and the excellent Netvibes dashboard for discussion about this.

Richard Allan, Taskforce Chair

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Report Feedback

The beta version of the Taskforce report has attracted several hundred comments which we have been working through this week as we draft the final version. I hope that we will be able to make this final version public at the start of next week.

Perhaps not surprisingly the section on geospatial data has attracted the most discussion with over 30 comments registered.

A number of these have asked for more emphasis to be placed on access to address and postcode data and others have picked up the issue of ‘derived data’.

On the derived data issue the guidance sent to local authorities about the incompatibility of OS and Google Maps licenses is very instructive. This reinforces strongly the view that there is a problem we must urgently address if a public body cannot plot the location of public services on a map and then display this on commonly used platforms like Google Maps.

Richard Allan, Task Force Chair

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Report Delivery

We have now produced a beta version of our report back to Government.

This will be open for comments for 2 weeks and we will then make any final edits based on the feedback before presenting this to our sponsoring Minister, Tom Watson MP.

It has been an interesting exercise over the last few weeks putting the report together on a wiki and then publishing it using blogging software (more WordPress) tailored to allow commenting. As a separate exercise we may document the Taskforce’s own working practices for others in government to learn from these (both the positives and the negatives).

Richard Allan, Taskforce Chair


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Gestation Period

This blog has gone quiet recently because we are now working on our report back to Government. I had hoped to do this in December but we have needed a little longer to do justice to the subject.

It will reflect our experiences over the last 9 months and offer some recommendations for the areas of work we believe Government should tackle as a priority.

The plan is for this to be published shortly in an online, commentable form. Full details will be announced here.

Richard Allan, Task Force Chair

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Pre Budget Report and Trading Funds

The Pre Budget Report has a paragraph with relevance to the information reuse agenda…

4.54 The HM Treasury/Shareholder Executive assessment of trading funds has considered the potential for innovation and growth from increasing commercial and other use of public sector information. It will shortly publish some key principles for the re-use of this information, consider how these currently apply in each of the trading funds and how they might apply in the future, and the role of the Office of Public Sector Information in ensuring that Government policy is fully reflected in practice. For the Ordnance Survey, this will involve consideration of its underlying business model. Further details will be announced in Budget 2009.


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Last Chance to Show Us a Better Way

The Task Force has been running a competition called ‘Show Us A Better Way’ to generate ideas for good uses of public data.

Over 400 ideas have already been submitted covering many public services and personal interests.  They range from simple outlines of possible applications to more fully worked up prototypes.

The competition closes on Tuesday 30th September so it’s your last chance to submit an entry.

There’s a very quick and easy process for doing this on the ShowUsABetterWay website and all ideas are welcome.

The Task Force will be passing all the submissions on to relevant people in Government so none of your thinking will be wasted, even if you don’t make it as a competition winner.

We will post up more information on the competition judging process next week.

Richard Allan, Task Force Chair

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OPSI Annual Report

The Office of Public Sector Information has today published its annual report which has a wealth of useful information for anyone interested in the Power of Information agenda:

The UK Government has today presented to Parliament OPSI’s annual report on the re-use of Public Sector Information. The report has been published as Cm 7446 copies of which can be purchased from TSO or downloaded from the OPSI website at

This annual Report marks the third anniversary of the UK’s implementation of the European Directive on the Re-use of Public Sector Information (PSI). The report coincides with the European Commission’s review of the implementation of the Directive. The UK Report will feed into the review process.

The Report highlights the key milestones and tracks the progress made by OPSI and the UK government over the past year. The European Commission has praised the UK for its commitment to PSI, much which has been achieved through OPSI’s central policy role for PSI. The UK is seen as an exemplar and leader in PSI across Europe.

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