Market assessment of public sector information (UK) (2013)


This study was the first UK-wide market assessment of public sector information. It spans the use and re-use of public sector information at the UK-level, regionally and locally by a wide range of businesses, civil society groups, government and members of the general public. The aim of this market assessment was to establish a robust evidence base on its value and to highlight the policy implications flowing from an examination of how public sector information could be utilised further.

The research covers three broad thematic areas: (i) definitions of public sector information and its characteristics; (ii) how public sector information is used and re-used inside and outside of government; and (iii) barriers to fully exploiting the value of public sector information, including issues around competitiveness, funding and regulation.

Geographical scope

United Kingdom

Non-quantified impacts

Through initiatives such as the, the Open Data User Group, Departmental Data Strategies, as well as the establishment of the Data Strategy Board and Open Data Institute, the UK has taken significant steps to creating a world-class public data infrastructure.

  • While there is no central figure on the number of public sector information datasets currently being made available, a review of selected data portals suggests the number could exceed 37,500 from over 750 different publishers with over 2.5 million downloads by October 2012


There is a link between the provision and use/re-use of public sector information and economic growth. Public sector information is used by businesses, individuals and the public sector to:

  • stimulate innovation and develop new products and services
  • hold public service providers to account, promote democratic engagement and foster greater transparency and better policymaking
  • reduce barriers to entry into markets and address information asymmetries
  • generate network effects that drive disruptive change by connecting increasing numbers of consumers and businesses

Quantifiable impacts

The report estimates that the value of public sector information to consumers, businesses and the public sector in 2011/12 was approximately GBP 1.8 billion (2011 prices).

  • This is a mid-point estimate, with the sensitivity analyses giving a range between GBP 1.2 billion and GBP 2.2 billion


However, the use and re-use of public sector information has much larger downstream impacts affecting all areas of society beyond the direct customer.

Adding this social value estimate to the calculated value of public sector information to consumers, businesses and the public sector, gives an aggregate estimate of between GBP 6.2 billion and GBP 7.2 billion in 2011/12 (2011 prices). Future uses of public sector information that have the potential to generate much more value include greater combining of public and private sector information, exploiting the benefits of linked data, embedding geospatial and location data across more and more products and services, and more informed policymaking based on better utilised public sector information.



Study type

Combination of literature reviews, analysis of secondary sources, stakeholder interviews and case studies

Economy sector

Public Sector Local Government, Public Sector Central Government