David Cameron: Innovation must be at the heart of public policy

In a major speech on innovation at the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), David Cameron said:

“I passionately believe that if we are to take on and beat the great challenges of our time, we need the culture of public policy-making to have innovation at its heart. That’s the way to get the best results. And that’s the way to get value for taxpayers’ money…

“We will follow private sector best practice which is to introduce ‘open standards’ that enables IT contracts to be split up into modular components. So never again could there be projects like Labour’s hubristic NHS supercomputer. And we will create a level playing field for open source software in IT procurement and open up the procurement system to small and innovative companies…

“We’re going to move from a top-down system to a bottom-up one. Where money follows the needs and wishes of individuals and the users of services – not the priorities of the bureaucracy. Where we don’t ask, where does the voluntary sector fit in? – but rather: where doesn’t the voluntary sector fit in? Where we in government concentrate on the results that public services deliver, not prescribe the processes they have to follow.”

Conservative Party policies to set public data free include:

• Spending Transparency, so every public body must publish every item of Government expenditure over £25,000, increasing accountability to the taxpayer.

• Standardised Local Government Information, so it can be collected and used by the public and third party groups to create innovative applications and public services about local services like sports clubs.

• Crime Mapping, so the public can see a constantly updating picture of crime in their area, increasing the accountability of local police and politicians

• A level playing field for open source software, opening up procurement which could result in savings to the taxpayer of hundreds of millions of pounds per year.


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