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Cameron promises a 'right to data'

Calls time on Whitehall's secrecy culture

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The Cabinet Office will demand proper transparency from all government departments and move to a "right to data" for the British public.

The government, while ensuring national security, "information propriety" and "personal privacy" are protected, will work to release datasets the public wants access to. The Cabinet Office promised a brave new world in which it would "ensure transparency is recognised as a key operating principle".

Instead of the government's usual claim that details of its contracts cannot be released because of "commercial sensitivity", we are now promised that the cost of running central procurement will be freely available. So will the cost of managing relationships with government supplies and equipment.

Total government spending on advertising, management consultants and IT and stationery supplies will also be published.

We will get to see the proportion of government spending going to small and medium enterprises and pay grades for Special Advisers.

The Cabinet Office has also promised to release performance data on ICT projects about £1m, over the life of the project.

The turnaround is being run by Roger Smethurst, head of knowledge and information management.

You can find similar business plans for each government department here.

The Home Office promised a fundamental change in the way it views the information it holds. It said: "It is no longer ‘our data’ but should be viewed as ‘public data’, which we as a department hold and maintain for all." ®

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