Government ‘tidal wave’ of data heading for the public

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Patients will be able to compare the cancer survival rates of their local GP practices under a Government initiative to publish information it claims will change people’s lives.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude announced that Whitehall was releasing a “tidal wave” of data about public services covering health, education and work that would help the public, as well as giving business information that could be used to create new services and fuel growth.

Plans include releasing details about how European Union funds are used in the UK and information about the Government’s international aid spending.

It came as Mr Maude published the Open Data White Paper, which will enshrine a “presumption to publish” information “from the Prime Minister down”.

Although the proposals do not include charging for requests for information made under the Freedom of Information Act, the report does confirm the Government would separately consider any recommendations made about fees put forward by the Commons justice select committee. Mr 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.

“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.”