UK government embraces new open data standard

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The Government has embraced a new standard that will allow it to open its procurement data up to the public.

Britain becomes the latest adopter of the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS), which aims to make government procurement data more transparent.

Version 1.0 of the OCDS was released yesterday by the Open Contracting Partnership, and the UK joins Canada, Costa Rica, Paraguay and Colombia in adopting the standard.

Incoming executive director of the Open Contracting Partnership, Gavin Hayman, said OCDS would help kill off clandestine agreements between governments and companies.

He said: "It is time to end secret deals between companies and governments to make sure public resources are spent openly, effectively and efficiently.

"Having accessible, comparable data covering the key items of information in a deal is key to achieving this objective."

Version 1.0 outlines key documents and data that governments should publish at various stages of a contract tendering process.

The Partnership claims the data standard will ensure that procurement data is accessible to all and consistent in order to allow people to compare and analyse it, with the aim to create a fairer playing field for businesses.

While the Partnership produced the standard, it was developed with the help of the World Wide Web Foundation, through a project supported by sponsors including the World Bank.

Anne Jellema, CEO of the Foundation, said: "Corruption adds an estimated $2.3 trillion to the cost of government contracts every year.

"This new standard is a big step forward in the fight to eliminate fraud and waste in public procurement, enabling contracts to be published online in a transparent, consistent and user-friendly format so that anyone can monitor them."