The latest on the drive for government transparency and open data

7 06 2010

On 4th June, the government opened its books and released the entire contents of the Combined Online Information System (COINS) for the previous two financial years:

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell delivered a speech at the Royal Society with Oxfam and Policy Exchange on 3rd June announcing the creation of a new independent watchdog to regulate spending. Mitchell stated that ‘British taxpayers will see exactly how and where overseas aid money is being spent’, as set out in the new ‘UKaid transparency guarantee’.

On 4th June the Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles urged Councils to follow central government’s lead and publish all spending over £500 as part of a government-wide transparency and open data drive. This decision will not be enforced by law but the government has warned that ‘measures will be taken’ against uncooperative councils. Local government spending should be freely available in the public domain by January 2011.

Eric Pickles announced the policy on 5th June in an article in the Telegraph.

The BBC used this topic for a lively Have Your Say open discussion where people were invited to put forward their views on whether transparency will restore in government.

Charlotte Jee ( @charlottejee )

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