July 3, 2012

The Big Data Opportunity: Making government faster, smarter and more personal

The modern world generates a staggering quantity of data – and the business of government is no exception. The term ‘big data’ has come to refer to the very large datasets involved, and ‘big data analytics’ to refer to the process of seeking insights by combining and examining them.

This report is about a strategy for big data in the public sector. We provide an overview and examples to inspire policymakers around the opportunity for data and analytics to transform public service delivery. We also sound a note of caution about the challenges this agenda poses for the public sector, particularly around talent, capabilities and civil liberties.

Our recommendations show how government might begin to capture the opportunities of big data whilst meeting the challenges the public sector will face along the way.


“We have reached a pivotal moment – where we consider the rules and ways of working in a data-rich world. How we use this resource effectively, creatively and responsibly.

“The Policy Exchange report published today is very timely and makes many valuable recommendations that I will be looking at closely.”

Francis Maude – Minister for the Cabinet Office


Chris Yiu

Head of Digital Government, 2011-13

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