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Departmental Disclosure of Information

Volume 505: debated on Wednesday 3 February 2010

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport which (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. (313270)

Agencies/non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) that have Crown status, make most of their information available for free re-use under the PSI Click-Use Licence. Government trading funds 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.

Following are details about selling of information by Department for Transport agencies and NDPBs:

Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)

The MCA does sell information to companies and members of the public. For example, on request, information from the MCA’s Public Register of UK ships and information that relates to search and rescue incidents from the MCA’s systems is sold, all in compliance with the Data Protection Act.

Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA)

VCA has the remit to meet its full costs from earned income, and operates in a competitive market. VCA sells type approval legislation and its associated interpretations.

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)

DVLA is a Government trading fund which has authority to charge for the services it provides in order to cover its costs. This covers information supplied to commercial organisations and individuals.

Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA)

VOSA does not currently sell information on a commercial basis. Some information has been provided to the agency’s commercial customers on a cost recovery basis. The agency is assessing the opportunity and business case for further use of its information assets.

Government Car and Despatch Agency (GCDA)

The GCDA does not sell information on a commercial basis to companies or individuals in the private sector and other organisations.

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA)

DSA licenses its theory test item banks and hazard perception film clips to all sectors under the Information Fair Trader Scheme, regulated by the Office of Public Sector Information. The Stationery Office Ltd. (a private sector publisher) currently publishes DSA official learning materials and “The Official Highway Code”. DSA receives a royalty on sales as part of the contract price.

The Highways Agency (HA)

The HA charges an access fee for video images and stills from the road network videos to various media companies, e.g. the BBC. The charge is minimal and is based on recovery of the costs of supplying the images.

Non-departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs)

The Department for Transport is also responsible for 12 NDPBs. Of these, four are advisory or tribunal bodies; four are Executive NDPBs which do not sell information on a commercial basis; four are classified as public corporations. These are the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA); the Northern Lighthouse Board and Trinity House; Trust Ports. The public corporations receive most of their income from selling goods and services rather than from grant or voted supply.