Public administration data to be given its own licence
France’s Court of Audit (Cour des comptes) recommends that the country make it mandatory for public administrations to be able to exchange data at no cost. The auditors also propose to create a licence for data that is exchanged between public administrations, to help standardise and normalise the interchange.
Public administrations should be allowed to charge fees only for custom-created data and for special surveys. According to an estimate by the Court of Audit, French public administrations in 2014 spent about EUR 20 million in fees to get access to data. The vast majority of charges (91%) were levied by just five public administrations: the national pension fund CNAV, the geographic and forest service IGN, the National Institute of Statistics Insee, and the tax department.
The amounts involved range from tens to hundreds of thousands of euro, and a lot of money is exchanged between social security funds. Just over half (55%) of data purchases are carried out by local public administrations, the Court of Audit writes in itsreport, but only for small amounts, accounting for just 8.6% of the total.
In addition, the advisors recommend that the government remove barriers to the free flow of data between public administrations. It also wants public administrations to clarify the legal constraints that limit the interchange, for example when data is to be kept secret.
The Court of Audit’s research into the fees for data exchange took some six months. The auditors were assisted by France’s government modernisation department (SGMAP) and the country’s Data Administrator.