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Open Government Partnership advisors named

Charlotte Jee Published 03 December 2012

UK to host first meeting and launch Open Data Institute


The UK will host the first meeting of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) tomorrow and confirm the appointment of a number of distinguished senior advisers.

In particular, the places of former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, Sudanese-born British entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim and Mozambican politician Gra?a Machel will be confirmed on the eight-member international expert panel.

At the meeting, the group's ministerial steering committee will discuss the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM), which is being introduced to monitor whether participating countries are living up to their transparency commitments. The IRM will be responsible for publishing annual independent assessment reports for each country.

There will also be discussions around how the OGP will engage with other multilateral organisations such as the OECD and World Bank.

The UK is currently lead chair of the OGP. Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, who will preside over the meeting, said, "The Open Government Partnership is all about using transparency to drive sharper accountability and greater prosperity.

"That's why the launch of the Independent Reporting Mechanism, backed by civil society and the media, is so important. It will help ensure that partnership members actually deliver the transparency commitments they have made."

On the same day, the UK will officially launch the Open Data Institute (ODI), which was announced in last year's Autumn Statement.

The ODI, which was founded by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt, aims to "help government and business identify commercially valuable public data, nurture innovative data-driven start-ups, and support both the public and private sectors so they can work effectively with open data."

The institute has just announced its first major investor- Omidyar Network, a US investment firm set up by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay. The company will provide roughly £466,000 over two years "to help develop UK open data businesses". The ODI is partially funded by the government's Technology Strategy Board and was supported by the University of Southampton while it was being set up.

According to research by Deloitte, the UK is leading the world in open data, with data.gov.uk receiving more daily visits than comparable websites in France and the US. In addition, the study found, between January 2010 and September 2012, demand for open data on data.gov.uk has grown by 285%.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee said, "People are looking to the UK as being a leader. A lot of people have come to me since they heard of plans to launch the ODI with questions about how they can launch one in their own country.

"I think it's great to have somewhere to centralise a lot of experience, a lot of the brilliant work that people have been doing in this area both within the UK and in the international community. This is just the start of amazing things that are going to happen in this space."

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