Furthermore, regulations need to be implemented to ensure that the publication of public data cannot be blocked by outsourced public services in the name of commercial confidentiality. "We must be able to follow the taxpayers' pound wherever it is spent," said Hodge.
The report adds: "Poor or incomplete data hinders the ability of users to exercise effective choice, for example on care providers. It also undermines the ability of service deliverers and policy makers to focus on improving quality."
However, Hodge also suggested that the release of data ought to be subject to a cost-benefit analysis to ensure that the taxpayer gets value for money from the process.
"Data is also being issued by government and other public bodies without any clear idea of the costs, benefits and risks of doing so. The government should develop a comprehensive analysis of what it actually costs to release data, and of the real benefits and risks," she said.