Our democracy relies on the quality of data in the public domain, and the public’s trust in it. To maintain public trust in statistics, we need to end the practice of pre-release access whereby some people in government see statistics before the public. The independent UK Statistics Authority should keep playing a key role in public policy, and it should continue to withdraw the designation of ‘National Statistic’ from any numbers that are not of high enough quality. Sir Andrew Dilnot should continue to intervene when politicians misuse statistics. And to build the public’s trust around use of their data, the independent Information Commissioner’s Office should be better resourced, with a sustainable funding base and greater powers to audit compliance and punish bad practices.
Government has made a start in opening up its data, but there is more to be done in order to become transparent and encourage innovation. We look to the government to open up addressing and geospatial data as the core reference data upon which society depends, and also act as a catalyst to release economic value from other open datasets.