Feeds

UK taxpayers spunk £8m on lubing civil servants for data release

£25k wad dangled before start-ups to make apps about UK.gov

Boost IT visibility and business value

Millions of pounds in taxpayers' cash will be spent on encouraging civil servants to reveal more facts and figures about the government's activities to the private sector.

The Cabinet Office has announced two programmes, backed by an £8.35m pot, that Number 10 said “will help public bodies release data so that companies can develop commercial opportunities for that data”.

The first programme, the Data Strategy Breakthrough Fund, will get £7.5m of that pot and is open to public-sector organisations. The fund will help civil servants overcome “short-term technical barriers” in publishing wads of useful to ho-hum factoids online.

Meanwhile, the second scheme, the Open Data Immersion Programme, will receive £850,000 and “support companies looking to reuse data to develop ideas for new products and services".

Start-ups and small private organisations could get between £20,000 and £25,000 to “take their concepts into early products and services", according to the Cabinet Office. More details on this competition are expected in the New Year.

Both programmes are expected to be up and running next year and will last until 2015.

This is all part of Number 10's "Open Data Initiative" to take quantitative information on what the government actually does - from local council duties to healthcare - and publish it in a consistent way that can be analysed and understood by humans and software.

It's hoped this will encourage civic-minded programmers to, say, plot the data as pretty graphs for citizens who are curious about what their taxes are being spent on.

As such, the Open Data Institute was founded in May with its own £10m pot of public money to incubate data-crunching start-ups, help small biz, and to train 25 entrepreneurs, developers, technologists and evangelists on the subjects of, er, open data and data linking.

But the National Audit Office (NAO) and Parliament's Public Accounts Select Committee have since faulted the government for not demonstrating any cost-benefit analysis for its Open Data Initiative.

The NAO found, in some cases, the cost of preparing and polishing the data prior to publication outweighed the usefulness of the information to Blighty's population. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
Apple tried to get a ban on Galaxy, judge said: NO, NO, NO
Judge Koh refuses Samsung ban for the third time
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?