The Free Our Data campaign this week asks “Will the government try to privatise the UK Hydrographic Office?” – Such a development I believe has been on the cards for some time and is a result to some extent of the continuing lack of focus or understanding of information as an asset.
You get the impression that the management of information is seen by government purely as a cost to endure rather than the potential benefit it would be, if government information was better managed and shared across .gov.uk.
In saying that, UKHO is actually more an aggregator of information rather than a producer, its value as an organisation comes from the systems and processes to carry out the complex task of rapidly bringing together global datasets produced by 100’s of other marine data collectors – quite a specialised field.
If this niche is seen as valuable enough to consider privatisation, then how much more interest can the treasury have in the other agencies which create information and therefore sit on more valuable assets ?
Written and submitted from the Apple Store, London, using its free 802.11 network.