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ECS Professors invited to join Public Transparency Board

It was announced on Monday 31 May that Professor Nigel Shadbolt and Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee of the School of Electronics and Computer Science will be members of the Government's new Public Sector Transparency Board.

The Board will be responsible for setting open data standards across the public sector and developing the legal Right to Data, and will be based at the Cabinet Office which will drive the Government’s cross-government transparency agenda.

In a move which confirms the new Government’s commitment to transparency in government, the Cabinet Office also announced that it had published the salaries of the highest-earning senior civil servants on its website.

Commenting, Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said:

“Transparency is at the heart of the Government's programme, which is why the Cabinet Office, at the heart of government is taking the lead. All departments will open up their data in the weeks ahead.

“Today is just the start of what we plan to do. We are determined to set an example for the wider public sector, and to create a ‘right to data’ as a core part of government business.

“By freeing up public sector datasets for others to reuse, inventive people will be able to build innovative applications and websites which will bring significant economic benefit. A Cambridge University study suggested that this could contribute an additional £6 billion to the UK's economy.”

The Cabinet Office described Professor Shadbolt and Sir Tim Berners-Lee, along with new Board member Tom Steinberg, founder of mysociety, as “some of the country’s leading experts and advocates on transparency and open data”.

The news release from the Cabinet Office notes: "The Public Sector Transparency Board will support and challenge public sector bodies in the implementation of transparency and open data – and it will listen to the public and drive through the opening up of the most wanted data sets. It will consist of a mix of external experts and data users, and public sector data specialists."

Both Professor Shadbolt and Sir Tim Berners-Lee have been advocates of releasing government data in the linked open data format that enables it to be used in new applications. Their commitment to this effort was reaffirmed in their statement last week on the Institute for Web Science.

They commented then: "As we enter a phase of cutting back on many things, the linked open data movement is a crucial tool, for government, public and industry to get the most value from the important resources being opened up. During times of austerity, transparency is essential, and open data will play a crucial role."

For further information about the Public Sector Transparency Board, see an update on the committee's first meeting.

For further information contact Joyce Lewis; tel.+44(0)23 8059 5453.

Posted by Joyce Lewis on 02 Jun 2010.