The European Commission ('the Commission') has launched a public consultation on the EU Directive on the Re-Use of Public Sector Information ('PSI Directive') - implemented in the UK by the PSI Regulations 2005.

Public sector information comprises a vast amount of diverse information: from traffic information and maps to meteorological data and economic analysis. Technological advances in recent years have led to a greater appreciation of the true commercial potential of this information.

With the increased use and development of data-reliant products, such as car navigation systems and "smartphone" applications, it is estimated that PSI re-use generates an EU-wide turnover of at least €27 billion annually with potential for further growth.

However, in 2009, six years after its adoption, a review of the PSI Directive was undertaken. While the Commission noted that there had been improvement in facilitating the re-use of PSI, they noted that barriers still existed which prevented the sector from realising its full potential. Particular concerns were raised in relation to discrimination between PSI re-users; complex licensing systems; excessive charges for information; and a lack of transparency in general.

As a result of the 2009 review and the weaknesses it identified, the Commission announced in September this year that, as one of the Key Actions of the Digital Agenda for Europe, it was to carry out a comprehensive review of the PSI Directive. The current consultation is the first step of this review process.

If you think your organisation may be affected by this consultation, have your say here. The consultation is open for responses until 30 November 2010.

If you think your organisation could benefit from using PSI, our FAQs on the UK PSI Regulations can be accessed here.