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Joint letter from civil society groups urges UK government to take urgent action to overhaul its use of data

The Open Contracting Partnership alongside FullFact, Institute of Government, Open Knowledge Foundation, 360Giving, Open Data Institute, Nesta, Royal Statistical Society, King’s College London and mySociety are calling on the UK government to take urgent action to overhaul its use of data.

Gavin Hayman, our Executive Director said:

“Governments are already using open contracting data to save themselves billions and deliver much better public services. It’s great to see strategy, now let’s get to work building the infrastructure and putting the data to work for citizens.”


The full open letter is below.



Dear Secretary of State,

Better use of better data is key to better government and a better society.

Although parts of government have worked hard to improve how they collect, analyse, share and use data for the benefit of the public, problems remain. As the National Audit Office said recently:

“Without accurate, timely and proportionate data, government will not be able to get the best use out of public money or take the next step towards more sophisticated approaches to using data that can reap real rewards… [D]espite years of effort and many well-documented failures, government has lacked clear and sustained strategic leadership on data.”

Better use of data across the public, private and third sectors will help people across the country hold government to account, give them confidence that they are using trustworthy services, and allow them to make decisions that improve their local communities. Moreover, it will create new organisations and increase productivity and innovation in existing ones. 

We believe that the National Data Strategy, allied with the forthcoming Spending Review, provides an opportunity for the government to set out a long-term ambition for how it will transform the UK’s use of data.

Without major and sustained effort, the UK risks falling behind other countries over the next decade and never being able to catch up.

It is vital that the National Data Strategy addresses the following issues: 


Yours sincerely,

Catherine Stihler – CEO, Open Knowledge Foundation

Rachel Rank – CEO, 360Giving

Jeni Tennison – CEO, Open Data Institute

Geoff Mulgan – Chief Executive, Nesta

Hetan Shah – Executive Director, Royal Statistical Society

Will Moy – Chief Executive, Full Fact

Professor Bobby Duffy, Director, Policy Institute, King’s College London

Mark Cridge – Chief Executive, mySociety

Gavin Hayman – Chief Executive, Open Contracting Partnership


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