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Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has invited the public to comment on what government data sets should be released.

He said the move is part of the effort to define clear principles for the implementation of the transparency agenda across the public sector.

The announcement came after the first meeting of the Public Sector Transparency Board, which decided to publish a first draft of the principles for transparency immediately on data.gov.uk for comment and improvement.

This reflects the board's remit to engage with developers, open data experts and business on how transparency should be implemented. One of its responsibilities is to set open data standards for the whole public sector.

The principles the board has put forward for wider comment are:

  • Public data policy and practice will be clearly driven by the public and businesses who want and use the data, including what data is released when and in what form.
  • It will be published in reusable, machine-readable form.
  • It will be released under the same open licence which enables free reuse, including commercial reuse.
  • It will be available and easy to find through a single easy to use online access point.
  • It will be published using open standards and following the recommendations of the World Wide Web Consortium.
  • Public data underlying the government's own websites will be published in reusable form for others to use.
  • Public data will be timely and fine-grained.
  • Public bodies should release data quickly, and then republish it in linked data form.
  • Public data will be freely available to use in any lawful way.
  • Public bodies should actively encourage the reuse of their public data.
  • They should maintain and publish inventories of their data holdings.

Maude said: "In just a few weeks this government has published a whole range of data sets that have never been available to the public before. But we don't want this to be about a few releases, we want transparency to become an absolutely core part of every bit of government business.

"That is why we have asked some of the country's and the world's greatest experts in this field to help us take this work forward quickly here in central government and across the whole of the public sector.

"And in the spirit of transparency we are asking everyone to comment on our ideas and help us to define these important principles. Anyone who wants to will be able to put forward their suggestions for what the principles should be by logging on to data.gov.uk."

This article was originally published at Kable.

Kable's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

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