The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills recently launched a consultation on the Land Registry’s future operating model.

I have recently changed jobs at GDS and am now working on the very early stages of an equivalent to our public registers platform for private / sensitive data. Because of that I feel it would be inappropriate for me to comment about the contents of this consultation either in public or private.

However, I am still very interested in the manner in which it will take place. The consultation runs for nine weeks and will end on the 26th of May. During that time it is possible that many people will take the opportunity to express their opinions about the proposals. Some may do this in public via mechanisms such as blog posts or published submissions. Others may choose to send their responses directly to BIS.

What I am interested in is what happens to consultation responses after they have been submitted. I’ve written previous about my thoughts on the value of turning consultations from a one-way submission of opinions into a open conversation. One of the steps that could be on the way to that would be to publish, with permission obviously, the submissions to consultations such as the one relating to the Land Registry.

I would be very interested to hear the consultation owner’s thoughts on this and whether they would be prepared to contact those that have submitted responses to ask them if their submission can be made public.

In future I would like to see the future consultations changed to a default where their submissions are assumed to be publishable unless the submitter indicates otherwise (this would need to be made very plain on the page explaining the consultation).

There is precedent for this including the publishing of the submissions to Mr Speaker’s consultation for the Parliamentary Digital Democracy Commission.

While there is still no standard for the organising of consultations in the UK government I would very much like to see forward thinking departments, such as BIS, take the first step in increasing transparency in this area.

In addition I would like to see the become part of the UK action plan for the Open Government Partnership.

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