Proposals for converting Ordnance Survey from a Trading Fund into a government-owned company have today moved a step closer.
As announced this morning in a Written Ministerial Statement to Parliament from the Minister of State for Business and Enterprise, the Government plans for the change to happen at the end of this financial year:
Ordnance Survey has been working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to consider the most appropriate platform for its future operations and growth. The Government and Board of Ordnance Survey have concluded that operating as a government-owned company (GovCo) will better place the business to act at pace in rapidly changing markets and remain at the heart of the global geospatial industry.
Becoming a GovCo will not change the ownership of Ordnance Survey – it will remain 100% in public ownership. The Ordnance Survey Board will remain accountable to the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills.
Ordnance Survey’s customers, partners and stakeholders will not be affected by the transfer to a GovCo. It is anticipated that they will ultimately benefit from a more efficient and focussed business aligned to their needs. Existing arrangements such as the Public Sector Mapping Agreement, One Scotland Mapping Agreement and OS OpenData will continue on the same terms until their scheduled end dates.
Operating as a GovCo is expected to enable Ordnance Survey to:
- Provide continued commitment and efficiencies in the delivery of its public task
- Respond more effectively, quickly and flexibly, to the needs of the geospatial industry and its wider markets.
- Better support the maintenance and quality of geographic datasets, which are available under the Open Data programme, and identify where more can be done.
- Improve Ordnance Survey’s ability to recruit and retain skilled employees, particularly for digital, mobile and data management skill sets, which are in great demand.
- Give Ordnance Survey greater freedom to manage its day-to-day operations.
Sir Rob Margetts CBE, Ordnance Survey Non-Executive Chair, said:
“As a government-owned company Ordnance Survey will be better-positioned to maintain its leadership role in our rapidly evolving industry. Our objective is to increase our pace of development by introducing more location-based products, services and solutions to benefit both existing and new customers, partners and markets. For Ordnance Survey to have a long-term sustainable future, we need a conventional business structure, which provides the platform for commercial growth, investments and product development.
“Over the past decade the realisation of the significance of location data by businesses and governments around the globe has grown significantly. Today Ordnance Survey data, services and expertise are being used extensively across the private and public sector to drive efficiencies, underpin decision making and provide valuable insight and intelligence.”