MPs want more data to be open to the public

Marion Dakers
PUBLIC data gathered by the government should be made public whenever possible in the name of transparency, MPs said today.

Data sets such as the Postcode Address File that was privatised along with the Royal Mail should be considered a national asset and made freely available, the House of Commons public administration select committee (PASC) said.

“Public access to public sector data must never be sold or given away again,” said committee chairman Bernard Jenkin.

“This type of information, like census information and many other data sets, is very expensive to collect and collate into useable form, but it also has huge potential value to the economy and society as a whole if it is kept as an open, public good.”

The recommendations on open data come as ministers consult on plans to sell off the Land Registry, a 150-year-old library of property information.

A report by Deloitte cited by the PASC found that data gathered by the public sector was worth £1.8bn to citizens, businesses and the state in 2011-12.