By Daniel Hunter

The appointment of new Chairs to the Data Strategy Board and Public Data Group were announced today (Thursday) by Ministers at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Cabinet Office.

Together, the new appointments will be responsible for maximising the value of public sector data, including by making it more accessible and transparent in the four Trading Funds which make up the Public Data Group — Ordnance Survey, the Met Office, Land Registry and Companies House.

Stephan Shakespeare is the new Chair for the Data Strategy Board (DSB), the new Advisory Body set up to maximise value for data users across the UK, primarily from data that the Public Data Group (PDG) Trading Funds hold.

The DSB will also advise government on how best to prioritise investment in data and services for public sector use as well as expanding the opportunities for starting and growing a business in the UK.

Claudia Arney will take up the post of Chair for the PDG. The Group will seek to support growth in the UK by delivering improvements in public services through collaborating across the PDG and the wider public sector.

The announcement comes as Francis Maude launches the Open Data White Paper which sets out how the Government will ensure that everybody can benefit from the open data revolution by making data held by the public sector more accessible and more usable.

It will also herald a tidal wave of new data releases covering health, education and work and will help drive improvements in public services, secure the UK’s position as a world-leader in transparency and put the citizen at the heart of the open data revolution.

As part of this, Companies House have today released a new dataset of company data for free re-use. This will make it easier for people to access company data and help stimulate growth by allowing large and small businesses to use the data to develop new services.

David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, who will oversee the Data Strategy Board, said:

“Stephan has an impressive track record in the digital world and I look forward to his advice on how we can make the best use of open data.

“In particular his knowledge of the public data sphere will be vital in helping the public sector and businesses work together to get the maximum benefit and help stimulate economic growth.”

Norman Lamb, Minister for Consumer Affairs, who will oversee the Public Data Group, said:

“Claudia Arney has excellent knowledge of the public data issues and her commercial experience will be crucial in leading the way to make data more freely available and working together with the different member bodies.

”The taxpayer will benefit in the long term from new revenue streams and better data efficiency, whether it’s at your local council or working with the private sector to deliver better public services. Today’s release of data by Companies House is also an excellent example of what’s been done already to increase access to data.”

Stephan Shakespeare, Chair of the Data Strategy Board said:

"I am delighted to be asked to lead the new Data Strategy Board. We are at a very important moment when new access to valuable datasets and greater transparency across business and government can bring increased creativity and growth. I look forward to working with the Data Strategy Board to help deliver this goal."

Claudia Arney, Chair of the Public Data Group said:

“I look forward to working with the PDG member bodies and building on their capabilities and existing best practice to explore new innovative ways of making data more freely accessible to users.”

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said:

“Data is the new raw material of the 21st century. It allows citizens to hold governments to account, drives improvements in public services by informing choice, and provides a feedstock for innovation and growth.

“We promised to be the most transparent government in British history — and we are doing just that. With nearly 9,000 datasets on our flagship portal data.gov.uk this open data story is only just beginning.

“We will keep putting more data, of higher quality into the public domain so everyone can reap the benefits of transparency and open data in the future. The prize — better public services and a more prosperous UK — is just too good to ignore.

“And to ensure that privacy concerns are at the centre of all discussions on data releases today we are announcing the appointment of a privacy expert to the Public Sector Transparency Board.”

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