CABINET OFFICE News
Release (CAB033/09) issued by COI News Distribution Service on 7 May 2009
Digital Engagement Tom Watson today outlined the next steps in the
Government's Power of Information programme.
In a speech to the NESTA / UNESCO Public Service Media 2009
Conference the Minister announced plans for an overhaul of Crown
Copyright rules that will make it easier for citizens to re-use
Government information, and new standards that will improve the
quality of official websites.
Tom Watson MP said:
"Just over a year ago 'Power of Information' was
simply a 15-page document. Today it's an integral part of the
way the Government does business. We'll be formally
responding to the PoI Taskforce's excellent report shortly,
but I'm delighted to say that some of their recommendations
are already taking form.
"They say information is power, but only distributed
information is truly empowering. That's why the Office of
Public Sector Information (OPSI) has looked again at the
restrictions of Crown Copyright, and now a licence will
automatically be granted to anyone wanting to use the information
rather than having to apply beforehand. This will makes things
easier for the kind of innovative individuals who entered Show Us
a Better Way to access the data they need to create brilliant new
applications. OPSI has also shown how Government can publish in a
'web-friendly' way rather than just as PDFs, and I want
to see this approach rolled out across Government.
"The Central Office of Information has done outstanding work
in reducing the number of websites and making those that are left
more accessible. Today I'm pleased to announce that COI is
launching new standards on quality to make Government sites as
effective and easy to use as possible."
Notes to editors
The event was organised by the UK National Commission for UNESCO,
along with the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the
Arts (NESTA) and Golant Films.
The Power of Information review was commissioned by the Minister
for the Cabinet Office Hilary Armstrong, in February 2007. It was
carried out by Tom Steinberg, Director of mySociety and Ed Mayo,
Chief Executive of the National Consumer Council.
The Power of Information Task Force was established by Cabinet
Office Minister Tom Watson MP in March 2008 in order to draw-up
the government's response to the recomendations of the Power
of Information report which was announced today.
Show Us A Better Way was a Cabinet Office competition that asked
citiizens to 'mash-up' Govermnent-held data into the
kind of online public services they wanted to see. For more
information visit: http://www.showusabetterway.com
Of the 1,649 websites identified in the Departmental Website
Reviews for closure, 762 were closed by the end of March 2009.
COI working with the Cabinet Office have delivered the following
standards and guidelines for improving government web estate in
financial year 2008/09 to provide a common benchmark against which
government websites are measured.
- Increasing finability through XML sitemaps
- Naming and registering websites
- Archiving websites
- Managing URLs
Exposing websites to search engines
- Measuring website
- Measuring website usage
These provide a common benchmark against which government
are measured to ensure consistent and high quality
The COI has launched a Usability Toolkit, a learning resource for
digital communicators across government to ensure the minimum
standards of usability are applied.
For more information, please contact:
Cabinet Office Press
Office 22 Whitehall LONDON SW1A 2WH
Tel: 020 7276 0317 - Fax:
020 7276 0618