Government unveils £1.5m open data project fund for public sector

Financial help to unlock data held by public organisations

government

The UK Government has launched a new fund for public sector bodies to release data for use by community projects.

Around 1.5 million will be made available for the projects and efforts will be led by the Cabinet Office and the Open Data User Group (ODUG).

The initial round of funding will be used to support projects that will release public data directly, and also those that will help boost skills in the public sector. The Government said more funding will follow later this year.

Open data is a raw material for economic growth, supporting the creation of new markets, business and jobs and helping us compete in the global race.

It was also announced that more than 100 training places will be available for senior public servants so they can learn about how open data can improve efficiency, bring savings and innovation, and provide wider economic benefits. The aim of the training is to help improve public data release in the future.

It is hoped the funding will help all local authorities release specific data in a consistent way. It cited as an example the Local Authority Voucher Scheme which is aimed at encouraging every local authority to release data on public conveniences, gritting and planning in the same format.

The Cabinet Office said a project such as these would help the open data community develop national products using this data which, it claimed, hasn't been consistently available or standardised before now.

Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office, said: "The UK is a world leader in opening up data because we know that it creates a more accountable, efficient and effective government. Open data is a raw material for economic growth, supporting the creation of new markets, business and jobs and helping us compete in the global race. To ensure this agenda continues to thrive, we are supporting a number of projects which will drive forward this culture of openness."

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