Data.gov.uk, the UK government’s open data portal, is "the largest resource of its kind in the world", the Minister for the Cabinet Office said today at a cenference in Birmingham.
"We’ve already released over 40,000 datasets on data.gov.uk," Francis Maude told delegates at Birmingham’s Open Data Innovation Community event today. "We now have regular publication of central department spending data over £25,000 and local government spending over £500."
Maude praised Birmingham’s ‘Civic Dashboard’ project, calling it a "field-leading example of…open data." The site places public service requests received by Birmingham City Council on a map, allowing residents to see what issues are affecting their neighbours.
Maude said that the government would be relaunching data.gov.uk over "the next few months, to make it easier to navigate, search for relevant datasets and engage with Government and other data users".
His praise for open data followed criticism from the government of the Freedom of Information Act. A Ministry of Justice study in February found that the FoIA had not improved government, while outgoing Cabinet Office Secretary, Gus O’Donnell, said in December that the Act had "hamstrung government", saying the Act placed pressure on policy discussions which acted as a sanitiser to discussion.