Hot off the press – the UK’s Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform has published a review of the economics of trading funds. The review follows (I think) recommendation 9 of the Power of Information review:

Recommendation 9. By Budget 2008, government should commission and publish an independent review of the costs and benefits of the current trading fund charging model for the re-use of public sector information, including the role of the five largest trading funds, the balance of direct versus downstream economic revenue, and the impact on the quality of public sector information.

Today that is published on the BERR website as Models of Public Sector Information Provision via Trading Funds by Professor David Newbery, Professor Lionel Bently and Rufus Pollock, all of Cambridge University.

If you read any of it, please post tidbits and thoughts in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Review of economics of trading funds published by UK Government”

  1. If I have understood correctly, the primary motivation for commissioning the review came out of the response to the OFT’s report on the Commercial Use of Public Information , not the existence of Recommendation 9 in the PoI (of course, no doubt the PoI recommendation provided additional impetus!). For more on the context of the report see the statement relating to the publication of the review on BERR’s website which among other things says:

    As part of the response, the Government commissioned Cambridge University to do some analysis specifically around the pricing of public sector information held by trading funds[i].

    This analysis has been released today as a Study Report (11 March 2008 – see Related Documents), and it sets out estimates of the costs and benefits of marginal-cost pricing, based on the assumptions used by the Cambridge team and the data they were able to collect.

    Going forward, the Government will look closely at the public sector information held by trading funds to distinguish more clearly what is required by Government for public tasks, ensuring this information is made available as widely as possible for use in actual and potential downstream markets.

    In the lead up to the next spending review, it will also ensure that it is priced appropriately. The underlying principle will be that information collected for public purposes will be made available at a price that balances the need for access while ensuring customers pay a fair contribution to the cost of collecting this information in the long-term.

    [i] The study was commissioned jointly by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and HM Treasury in July 2007. The terms of reference for the study are available upon request by contacting the BERR Enquiry Unit

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