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Open public data can drive growth in all sectors

The Guardian - Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude recently argued that access to data can curb public spending; but it should also be an integral part of a more ambitious growth agenda for the UK.

The autumn statement, which announced the Open Data Institute, demonstrated the government's idea that public data – produced, collected or paid for by public bodies – can deliver economic and societal benefits.

The European Commission also published its open data strategy in December. This aims to deliver on the €140bn promise that public data in the EU can enable new businesses to deliver innovative services, improve public sector transparency and efficiency and, ensure decisions by governments are based on greater evidence and insight.

Widening access to public data, regardless of origin or volume, is a necessary first step towards deriving insights to guide policy decisions and create business opportunities. It will not by itself, however, increase administrative efficiency or transform commerce.

By taking three key actions, public bodies can unlock data's full potential and engage citizens and entrepreneurs in innovative ways.