Information policy making in the United Kingdom: the role of the information professional

Should a state have a single overarching national information policy? Currently for the United Kingdom, Buckley Owen, Cooke, and Matthews say no, and suggest that their analysis may be relevant elsewhere. Their conclusion is based on primary and secondary research including interviews with policymakers/implementers at the highest level. In their investigation into UK government policy on citizens’ access to Public Sector Information, they map responsibility for eighteen different information policy issues across nine government departments, noting the diversity of the issues. Instead of a single rule, they offer a “framework” of elements, often representing cross-cutting issues, and offer suggestions for managing their coordination. They note the influence of experts and lobbyists on this process, and see a potential role for “information professionals” who know both technology and policy, with the relevant professional body playing a leading role. The authors conclude with ten recommendations for operationalizing their approach.