About the Open Government Licence

The Open Government Licence (OGL) (view in English or Welsh) is a simple set of terms and conditions that facilitates the re-use of a wide range of public sector information free of charge.

Using the Open Government Licence

There is no need to register or apply for an OGL. Users simply need to ensure that their use of information complies with the OGL terms.

If you would like to use information covered by the OGL and need a few helpful hints to get started, you can download our guidance:

Open Government Licence: guidance for users (PDF, 0.06Mb).

Government departments, public sector bodies (such as local authorities, NHS Trusts, etc.) making their information available for use under the OGL should follow the guidance for information providers.

We do not maintain a list of who is using information under the OGL because users do not need to register for a licence. However the OGL states that users should, where possible, provide a link back to the OGL. This means that it is possible to search for online works using information under the OGL.

Attribution statements

The OGL requires you to attribute the information provider and/or source of the information. Attribution statements usually include the title of the information resource, if applicable, its owner and/or creator and the date it was published or created. Where possible, you should also provide a link to the information used (if it is available online) and to the OGL.

Personal data

The OGL does not cover the use of personal data. This is because any re-use of personal data must comply with the Data Protection Principles as set out in Schedule 1 of the Data Protection Act 1988 (DPA) which defines how personal data about identifiable, living people can be processed.

A key consideration is that there must be clarity about the specific purpose for which the data was originally collected. Licensing the re-use of personal data for varied and non-specified purposes through the OGL would go beyond that original purpose in most cases and therefore would be unlawful.

You should also note that access to personal data does not automatically confer a right of re-use. Some personal data is collected for the express purpose of making it publicly available, for example, the edited version of the Electoral Roll. Nevertheless, the principles of the Data Protection Act remain the same and any subsequent use or re-use of the data must be lawful.

Information produced by The National Archives

Information produced by The National Archives is subject to Crown copyright or database rights and therefore is offered under the OGL by the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office (HMSO). However, documents, files and information held by The National Archives for public record purposes are subject to a wide range of different rights.

See the copyright page in our terms of use for more advice on the re-use of material held by The National Archives.

Charges

There are no charges for using information licensed under the OGL. However, information providers may charge a fee for supplying information. Examples where charging for supply would be permitted include:

  • providing a copy of a photograph in a higher resolution
  • providing large quantities of data by means of electronic storage devices

Information providers may not impose a charge for the subsequent re-use of the information.

Other licences

Open Government Licence v1.0 and 2.0

The OGL is a perpetual licence so any past and continuing use of information authorised under v1.0 or 2.0 may continue. The only exception to this would be if you breached the terms of either licence; this would result in it being terminated.

Information providers/licensors will specify which version of the OGL applies to their information as they make the transition to v3.0. The terms and conditions of the three versions are in essence the same with v3.0 only introducing a few refinements and clarifications.

The OGL superseded the PSI Click-Use Licence in 2010. Any information covered by Crown copyright that was available for re-use under the PSI Click-Use Licence may now be re-used under the OGL.

Compatibility with other licences

The OGL terms are compatible with the latest versions of the Creative Commons Attribution License and the Open Data Commons Attribution License. This means that when the information is adapted and licensed under either of those licences, you automatically meet the conditions of the OGL as long as you comply with the terms of the other licence.

Charged licence

In developing the UK Government Licensing Framework, The National Archives has produced the Charged licence for use by public sector bodies which have reason to charge for the use and re-use of the information they produce or hold.

Charged licence (PDF, 0.04Mb) Information Fair Trade Scheme

Developer licence

This licence is available to non-public sector bodies and Information Fair Trade Scheme (IFTS) members who have Delegation of Authority from the Controller of HMSO to charge for the re-use of information where this is permitted under the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015. The licence can be used to allow registered members to gain access to, and work with, data; enabling them to evaluate ideas, build prototypes and identify commercially viable opportunities. The licence is free of charge and operates on a 6 or 12 month rolling basis (or 3 months where the datasets include third party data) subject to membership of the registration scheme.

For the sake of clarity, the OGL will remain the default licence for the re-use of Crown copyright. Public sector bodies holding non-Crown copyright information may also use the developer licence if desired.

Open Supreme Court Licence

The Open Supreme Court Licence was developed in collaboration with the Supreme Court to enable the use and re-use of Supreme Court information while reflecting the court’s status and dignity as the final court of appeal.