Select Committee on Trade and Industry Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Annex E

RECOMMENDATION 19.2

Project Description

  Introduce marginal cost-pricing for most basic Government information, other than material originated by Trading Funds.

Responsibility and Contact Details

  HMSO: Carol Tullo. ([email protected])

Timetable and Milestones

    —  September 2000: announce results of review of Government Information announced by Patricia Hewitt in DTI Press Release.

    —  By end-2000: publication by Treasury of Final Report.

    —  February 2001: Treasury to clear policy paper on charging for government information at ministerial and senior policy level.

    —  1 April 2001: Implementation.

Report

  Patricia Hewitt, the E-Minister announced, on 6 September, plans to boost the Knowledge Economy by overhauling the way Government information can be acquired and reused by publishers, the Information Industry and others. This announcement followed the Government's Review of the Knowledge Driven Economy as part of the Spending Review 2000.

  The mechanism under which most core government information can be resused or republished will be a simplified class licence available online. This will enable potential users whether in a commercial or personal research capacity, to reuse a wide class of official information with the minimum amount of bureaucracy and delay.

  Patricia Hewitt also announced that the reuse of most information from departments and agencies would be on a marginal cost pricing basis. The practical effort of this is that where the material is already published, eg official publication or on a government website, the marginal cost of reproducing this information is effectively nil being the cost of downloading, scanning or photocopying from the official source. Where the originating department is involved in supply data, perhaps as part of a tailored service, then there could be an additional charge.

  The implications of online class licensing and the move to marginal cost pricing for core government information was explained to departments and agencies in a series of seminars held during September, October and November 2000. There has also been substantial policy discussions with departments and agencies in recent months.

  HM Treasury are in the process of producing draft guidance on future charging policy to be submitted to ministers and senior officials prior to circulation and consultation across government.

Status

  On track.

RECOMMENDATION 19.3

Project Description

  Introduction of class licensing by HMSO.

Responsibility and Contact Details

  HMSO: Carol Tullo. ([email protected])

Timetable and Milestones

    —  September 2000: publish Class Licence on HMSO website for comments as part of roll out of Review recommendations.

    —  November 2000-March 2001: scoping, pilot and testing of software project.

    —  1 April 2001: full implementation.

Report

  The introduction of a class licensing system was trailed in [email protected] a report published by the Performance and Innovation Unit of the Cabinet Office in September 1999. One of the central features of the announcement made by Patricia Hewitt, the E-Minister, relating to the Government's plans to boost the Knowledge Economy was the move to a class licence or click-use-pay licence.

  The principal benefit to users of the online class licence will be to establish a mechanism for resusing a wide range of government information which is quick and easy. In most cases reuse will be permitted at nil charge to users.

  HMSO, with input from departmental contacts and the Information Industry, drafted a class licence which has been circulated widely. A further draft, is being prepared in readiness for launching the class licence on 1 April 2001.

  HMSO is also working with e-business consultants to develop the online licensing system with workshops to scope data requirements and customer needs week commencing 15 January. Initial scoping and IT solution to be considered by the Crown Copyright User Group at the next meeting on 26 January.

RECOMMENDATION 19.4

Project Description

  Public information available in digital form.

Responsibility and Contact Details

  HMSO: Carol Tullo. ([email protected])

Timetable and Milestones

    —  By end October 2000: departmental progress reports.

    —  November 2000: HMSO to report on progress to Information Age Government Champions.

    —  By end 2000: 75 per cent of departments to have Information Asset Registers (IARs) in place for completion during 2001.

Report

  Interim progress report on implementation circulated to Information Age Government Champions in November 2000. As at the calendar year end targets were exceeded with 77 per cent of departmental IARs searchable via the inforoute access website with 1,000 + records available. Departmental meetings (20/12 and 15/1) are considering how to develop standards further. IAR officers have been appointed in 53 organisations so considerable growth is expected. Of those departments not yet represented several are awaiting for resources to be allocated and staff to start new positions. In some IAR coordination links to related projects on FOI and electronic records management.

  Liaison with the local authority information age practice group will enable us to develop common ground on pricing and licensing consistent with our modernising government objectives.

Status

  On track.


 
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