Government-wide Information Asset Register and the Inforoute service

FOI request reference: F0041241
Publication date: February 2015

Request

Following the 1999 White Paper “Future Management of Crown Copyright”, it was proposed that a Government-wide “Information Asset Register” (“IAR”) should be created in order to catalogue official Government information. Subsequently, an online tool called “Inforoute” was created to provide access to the IAR.

Please provide any information held relating to:

1) Whether a Goverment IAR currently exists and, if so, provide further details (e.g. is it publicly accessible and what it its stated purpose)

2) When Inforoute was discontinued

3) What the reason was for Inforoute being discontinued

4) Any public statements or internal communications on Inforoute being discontinued

5) Whether any alternative has been (or will be) put in place as a successor to Inforoute and what that alternative is (or will be).

Outcome

Successful

Response

1) Whether a Government IAR currently exists and, if so, provide further details (e.g. is it publicly accessible and what it its stated purpose).

There is currently no Government-wide Information Asset Register (IAR) and as such The National Archives are unable to provide any further information on this to you. Government departments are advised to have an IAR of their own as part of good information management practice. In some cases they are made publicly available as part of a department’s transparency pages or Publication Schemes under Freedom of Information. It may be necessary to enquire directly with the department concerned to obtain this information.

Published IARs are designed to allow the re-use of public sector information for the benefit of commercial exploitation, and there is an obligation on government departments to publish their own IAR under the Re-Use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005, available here:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2005/1515/contents/made.

Please note that these regulations are currently being reviewed following the 2013 Directive on the Re-use of Public Sector Information (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2013:175:0001:0008:EN:PDF)

2) When Inforoute was discontinued.

The Inforoute portal to government IARs was an early example of a tool to provide access to official content. It was superseded by a number of initiatives as Open Data and transparency policy developed.

Although Inforoute is no longer active it remains partially accessible through the Web Archive (please note that links there may now be no longer usable):

http://tna.europarchive.org/20100402134329/http://www.opsi.gov.uk/iar/index.htm

3) What the reason was for Inforoute being discontinued.
The Inforoute portal was discontinued as part of Government’s evolving policy and practice in order to improve efficiency and access to public sector information.

The launch of data.gov.uk has seen a migration of unpublished data from government departments to this website as a way of providing a one-stop shop for searchable government data. data.gov.uk forms part of the government’s transparency agenda and is concerned with releasing public data to help people understand how government works and how policies are made.
4) Any public statements or internal communications on Inforoute being discontinued.

We have been able to identify two emails (attached) that discuss the discontinuation of Inforoute.

Some of this information is exempt under section 40 (2) of the Act (by virtue of section 40 (3) (a) (i)).  This means that we cannot release those parts and they will be redacted.

Section 40 exempts personal information about a ‘third party’, if revealing it would breach the terms of the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998. The DPA prevents personal information from release if it would be unfair or at odds with the reason why it was collected, or where the subject had officially served notice that releasing it would cause them damage or distress.
In this case the exemption has been applied to the name, position and contact details of the email creator and recipients.

5) Whether any alternative has been (or will be) put in place as a successor to Inforoute and what that alternative is (or will be).

As highlighted earlier in the response, Inforoute was no longer seen as the most effective method of accessing and using unpublished government data and was consequently decommissioned in favour of alternatives, primarily data.gov.uk.
Users can request unpublished data from government departments via data.gov.uk, this function was previously hosted on the OPSI (Office of Public Sector Information) website as the ‘Unlocking Service’. In addition to requesting unpublished data, users can also request data in alternative formats, and highlight concerns over the licensing conditions attached to the re-use of data and information.

Additionally, departments are now responsible for publishing their own IARs which many make available via their website, or on data.gov.uk.