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Departmental Disclosure of Information

Volume 504: debated on Thursday 28 January 2010

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills whether (a) agencies and (b) non-departmental public bodies for which his Department is responsible sell information on a commercial basis to (i) companies or individuals in the private sector and (ii) other organisations. (313217)

Government Departments and agencies and non-departmental public bodies that have Crown status, make most of their information available for free re-use under the PSI Click-Use Licence. Government trading funds, such as the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), for which BIS have ministerial responsibility, are able under their trading fund status to charge for the services they provide in order to cover their costs. This covers information and its supply provided to other public bodies, commercial organisations and individuals. In common with other Government policy, some information is sold as priced publications.

I have approached the Chief Executives of the Department’s executive agencies and they will respond to the hon. Member directly.

Information on Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs) is not held centrally and due to the number of NDPBs, this would incur disproportionate cost.

Letter from Sean Dennehey, dated 25 January 2010:

I am responding in respect of the Intellectual Property Office to your Parliamentary Question tabled 20 January 2010, to the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The Intellectual Property Office makes available value added public domain information it has relating to Patents, Trade Marks and other Intellectual Property on normal commercial terms to companies, individuals and other bodies. It also has some publications on commercial terms covering the latest developments in IP law. This represents a small part of the Trading Fund’s business.

Letter from Gareth Jones:

I am replying on behalf of Companies House to your Parliamentary Question tabled 20 January 2010, UIN 313217, to the Minister of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Companies House sells details of directors, copies of annual accounts, incorporation documents and other company information to members of the public, companies or public sector organisations. This is sold on a cost recovery basis.

Letter from Peter Mason, dated 22 January 2010:

I am responding in respect of the National Measurement Office (formerly National Weights and Measures Laboratory) to your Parliamentary Question tabled on 20/01/2010 [reference 2009/1032] to the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, asking whether the agency sells information on a commercial basis to (i) companies or individuals in the private sector and (ii) other organisations.

The agency does not sell any information to any companies, individuals or organisations. Information that we previously charged for hard copies is now available free by download from on our website. We provide certain information such as our annual report free of charge to the Office of Public Sector Information, which makes a charge for hard copy material through The Stationery Office. We make this information available as free downloads from our website.

Letter from Stephen Speed:

I write with reference to your question, raised in Parliament, in which you asked:

“To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, whether (a) agencies and (b) non-departmental public bodies for which his Department is responsible sell information on a commercial basis to (i) companies or individuals in the private sector and (ii) other organisations.”

I have been asked to respond to your query as Chief Executive of The Insolvency Service.

Before responding in detail, however, I should clarify that the Insolvency Service does not sell any of the information it holds on a commercial basis.

The main database of information published by my agency is the electronic Individual Insolvency Register (eIIR), which holds details of:

Current bankruptcies, and those which have ended within the last three months;

Current individual voluntary arrangements and fast track voluntary arrangements;

Debt Relief Orders; and

Current bankruptcy restrictions orders and undertakings.

Access to the register is freely available through the Insolvency Service’s website, http://www.insolvency.gov.uk/bankruptcy/bankruptcysearch.htm, and no charge is made to view the data.

The full database of information is also available in a processed format, for which an administrative charge is levied. The charge is calculated on a cost recovery basis.

I trust that the above information will prove useful to you.