The news that that Ordnance Survey transferred from being a Trading Fund to a government-owned Company (GovCo) on 1April came as little surprise, having been trailed for some months.â©
Sir Rob Margetts CBE, Ordnance Survey Non-Executive Chair, says that the transfer to a GovCo will provide a conventional business structure for sustainable long-term growth, investment and product development. And, indeed, the move does give Ordnance Survey the flexibility to enter into private sector mergers without the usual constraints placed on the civil service.â©
But could the extra freedom conferred by GovCo status be regarded as another step on the road to privatisation? The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) says not. Yet many will be wondering at the intentions of the Shareholder Executive (the body within BIS that manages the Government’s financial interest in Ordnance Survey) following last year’s furore over leaked plans for the privatisation of another organisation within its remit, the Land Registry.â©
Ordnance Survey says that new directors for the GovCo will be announced in due course. Perhaps the background of those appointed will provide a clearer pointer as to those intentions .. and to the future for open data.