The Power of Information Taskforce has launched a competition to encourage people to find better ways of using the information the government holds.

The taskforce, which was established by the Cabinet Office in March, is offering a prize of up to £20,000 to take the winning idea forward with a development team. It is also publishing data sources for people to use on its website,

The taskforce says: “The government produces masses of information on what is happening around the UK; information on crime, on health, on education. However, this information is often hidden away in obscure publications or odd corners of websites. We want ideas on how to change this.”

The taskforce has already “uncovered” data that includes mapping information from the Ordnance Survey, medical information from the NHS, neighbourhood statistics from the Office for National Statistics and a carbon calculator from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

A spokesperson stressed to E-Health Insider that none of the data is personal information. The competition encourages people to submit ideas for representing official data sources so they are easier to understand or for combining or mashing up multiple data sources to answer new questions.

Ideas will be judged by comments posted on the taskforce’s website and by an independent judging panel. The winner will be given help to take their idea forward. The taskforce says this might mean time with a designer to create a professional mockup or with a programmer to create a working prototype.

It also says: “The best idea overall will win a symbolic trophy trawled from our archives.” The competition will close at the end of September, with an announcement of the winners by the end of the second week in October.