The head of Britain’s civil service, and Britain's most senior civil servant, is to call for a transparency revolution in Whitehall to make the UK Government the “most open” in the world.
In an article for The Independent Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood openly admits that in the past civil servants have been far better at collecting information on schools, hospitals and crime than they have been at releasing it to the public.
But he promises that in future total transparency across Whitehall will become the norm “giving people the information they need to make choices about their lives” and highlighting “areas where the public sector is underperforming”.
His commitment is likely to mean that within a few years the public will be able to assess pupil performance by class, crime levels on every street and the success rate for every single operation in local hospitals from one single source.
The information will also be available in ‘raw’ format so businesses will be able to make use of it to make smart phone applications while academics be able to analyse it for trends.
Sir Jeremy admits that such data “won’t always be comfortable for the civil service or government” but argues that it is the best way to drive up standards in the public service.
“While we’ve been steadily improving the way we collect data, if we’re honest, historically the civil service has been less good at releasing it,” he writes.
“(But) transparency makes for better Government. The data we are releasing will provide a powerful incentive for improvement.”