Shakespeare Review

May 15, 2013, 9:00 AM GMT+0

YouGov CEO Stephan Shakespeare launches the ‘Shakespeare Review’ into the use of public sector information

YouGov CEO and Data Strategy Board Chairman Stephan Shakespeare today launches the ‘Shakespeare Review’, an independent report that outlines recommendations for how public sector information (PSI) can be better used to improve government services and unlock economic growth.

“This is Phase II of the digital revolution,” said Shakespeare. “The first phase was about communication, this phase is about using increased tech capacity to do new and exciting things with data. Britain has a competitive advantage in that we have centralised public services that collect vast amounts of data, the value of which remains largely untapped. If we play it right we can break free of the shackles of a low-growth economy and – rather than being seen as an obstacle – government can become a key driver in this transformative process.”

The Shakespeare Review calls on government to devise and implement a ‘National Data Strategy’ that recognises at its core that PSI is derived from and paid for by the citizen, and therefore should be made as open as possible to create the maximum value to the nation. It recommends that government release data more quickly (even if it is imperfect), while simultaneously improving the quality and usability of data it puts into the public domain so that PSI can be used (and reused) by individuals, the third sector and businesses in order to stimulate innovation and growth. Realizing the full potential of PSI will require Britain to build on its already considerable prowess in data science, and with this in mind the review proposes a focused programme of investment to build skill-sets through universities, graduate schemes and within government departments.

The report also acknowledges that in order for government to increase the availability of data to external users, it must ensure trust in the system. To achieve this, the Shakespeare Review calls for a clear and pragmatic policy that makes maximum use of data security technologies, as well as much higher penalties for misuse of public sector information, including heavier fines and imprisonment in cases of deliberate and harmful misuse of data.

“To realise the full potential of open public sector data we must have clear guidelines for usage, and clear penalties – including imprisonment in some cases – for those who break the rules. I believe that with this in place we can shore up trust in the system, and help alleviate some of the fear that has been holding us back,” said Shakespeare.

The review is being published alongside an economic assessment carried out by Deloitte, the business advisory firm, which estimates the direct value of PSI to be around £1.8bn. However, when the wider social and economic value is factored in this approximate estimate rises to at least £6.8bn.

Costi Perricos, public sector analytics leader at Deloitte, said “Our research has shown that public sector information and open data is already helping to drive economic growth and innovation, and is delivering wider benefits to the UK. But this is just the start and the impact is likely to grow even larger still. As the public sector overcomes the challenges identified in our research, the UK will be well placed to enjoy the full potential of PSI and to cement its world-leading position at the forefront of the open data and transparency agenda.”

See the report

(The report is licensed under the Open Government Licence. To view the terms of the Open Government Licence click here)