Survey shows majority of UK public servants recognise importance of open data

The first survey on the use of open data by government has found that the majority of public servants agree that understanding how to access, share and use data will be increasingly important over the next three years. Even though most of those surveyed by Listpoint didn’t fully grasp government policies or the benefits of open data, more than half agreed that ready access to data and data standards will generate new enterprises, jobs and services.

Key findings of the survey include:

  • 78% do not know about government plans for open data and the benefits that follow
  • An overwhelming 72% recognised that knowing how to access, share and use data will be increasingly important over the next three years
  • 52% recognised that ready access to data and data standards will generate new enterprises, jobs and services in the public and private sectors
  • 57% do not know how to access data sets, how to interpret them or how to best apply data standards
  • More than 75% do not know what data is available outside their department to help develop new solutions for service delivery
  • 66% said they did not understand their role in delivering the open data agenda

Commenting on the findings, the ODI’s Technical Director, Jeni Tennison said:

"This is an interesting survey of the attitudes towards and understanding of data in general and open data in particular, across the public sector. It's encouraging to see that most of those who answered the survey recognise the potential of data even if they don't yet understand how to realise that potential.

There is clearly a challenge ahead in helping people to find and access the datasets they need, and giving them the right skills and knowledge to put them to good use. At the ODI, we are committed to working with organisations across the public and private sectors to help them share and use open data to develop and improve their businesses. This survey provides a useful benchmark against which to measure our progress in the months and years ahead".

Read a guest blog on today's survey