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|Title: ||The development of UK government policy on citizens' access to public sector information|
|Authors: ||Buckley Owen, Barbara|
|Issue Date: ||2011|
|Publisher: ||© Barbara Buckley Owen|
|Abstract: ||The aim of the research was to investigate the development of United Kingdom government
policy on citizens’ access to public sector information (PSI) from 1996 to 2010. In addition to
a mapping of UK policy documents, the main research method was the undertaking of open
and semi-structured interviews with influential experts and the analysis of interview
transcripts. These experts came from both inside and outside government, including: policymakers
and implementers; regulators and advisors; lobbyists and campaigners; academics;
and the information profession.
Main findings were: lack of co-ordination of information policy across government; new skills
required within government to provide information in the Web 2.0 environment; uneven
progress in the development of citizen-centric services; lack of information literacy policy; and
low involvement of the information profession in driving forward the developments in the
provision of PSI.
A major gap identified was the lack of co-ordinated evaluation of information policy in general,
and of the provision of PSI in particular. A framework for assessing implementation of policy
was developed and tested against the Power of Information Taskforce recommendations, and
suggestions were made for new measures.
The research also charted the increase in the opening up of government data for re-use
during 2009 and 2010, both during the run-up to the general election and subsequently when
plans for transparency were put in place by the new Coalition government. It is considered
significant that this increase in transparency, by both main political parties, should come at a
time when trust in government was low, citizens’ expectations of electronic access to
information were rising and the technology was enabling new channels for engagement. The
influence of individuals was found to be considerable, not least as exerted by Sir Tim Berners-
Lee, Professor Nigel Shadbolt, Tom Steinberg, Labour Digital Engagement Minister Tom
Watson, and Natalie Ceeney at The National Archives.
Recommendations to government address: policy co-ordination mechanisms: the role of the
Office of Public Sector Information; and support for intermediaries. Those aimed at the
information profession cover: new skills needed; co-ordination for lobbying on specific issues;
and support for developing information literacy.
This research has been the first within the information policy academic community in the UK
to address how government is opening up its data in the wake of new technological
innovations and is focussed on the needs of citizens.|
|Description: ||A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.|
|Appears in Collections:||PhD Theses (Information Science)|
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