Public task

The term ‘public task’ is used in the Regulations on the Re-use of Public Sector Information (2005) (PSI Regulations). It is one of the factors  determining whether information produced, collected or held by the public sector falls within the scope of the PSI Regulations.

The National Archives has developed guidance to assist public sector bodies to define and publish a statement of their respective public tasks. This guidance was developed following discussion and consultation with expert practitioners in the field: How to produce a statement of public task guidance document (PDF, 0.00Mb)

We welcome any comments on this guidance document from practitioners. Please send comments to standards@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk.

The National Archives has also developed a set of principles against which statements of public task can be assessed: Public task principles (PDF, 0.04Mb)

Why is a clear statement of public task important?

There are a number of reasons why a clear statement of public task is important. The main ones are that it:

  • helps to establish whether the terms of the PSI Regulations apply
  • establishes whether complaints about re-use can be made under the PSI Regulations
  • helps to establish what criteria for charging for re-use should be applied

Which public sector bodies need to publish a statement of their public task?

This is necessary where the public sector body:

  • trades in information and charges for re-use of the information; and/or
  • licenses information under delegated authority from the Controller of HMSO or the Queen’s Printer for Scotland

Which public sector bodies do not need to publish a statement of their public task?

  • those that allow re-use of information under the Open Government Licence (OGL) or a similar open licence; and/or
  • those whose information falls outside the scope of the PSI Regulations (including libraries, schools, universities, public sector broadcasters and museums)

Please note, public sector bodies also covered by INSPIRE will still need to understand and define their public task for the purposes of that Directive.