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Better use of public data could save billions – Policy Exchange

Up to £33bn a year could be saved in the public sector by making better use of citizen data, a new report suggests.

The think tank Policy Exchange calls for government departments to utilise data from sources such as applications for driving licences, tax returns and social media.

‘The Big Data Opportunity’ identifies potential savings that equate to £500 for every person in the country. Their recommendations include axing the 10-year census and gathering data from the electoral roll, council tax registers and other sources to save money and ensure the data is up-to-date.

Airports could use real time flight data and social media sites to anticipate bottlenecks atUKairports, and react appropriately by stationing extra staff to deal with the queues.

Additionally a ‘data force’ could access all data from different departments and identify where savings could be made, reporting to the Prime Minister.

Chris Yiu, author of the report, said: “Across the public sector, extraordinary quantities of data are amassed in the course of running public services. Finding ways to share or link this data together has the potential to save time for citizens and money for taxpayers. The Government will need the capability to conduct analytics effectively, and the courage to pursue this agenda with integrity.”

To view the report, visit

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at


Harvey   05/07/2012 at 14:28

It's like all these years of data protection training and information governance standards have been for nothing...

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