William Perrin / Founder
Community activist and former civil servant, despite a deeply rural upbringing I lived for many years in London’s troubled Kings Cross district. The problems on my doorstep were so profound I got stuck into community action and eventually set up a website to keep track of what was going on www.kingscrossenvironment.com. The site now has over 1,600 articles, five volunteer writers and is an indispensible part of the local civic scene. We used the site to help fight some great campaigns, improve the area and help people connect with each other – what the wonks call ‘bridging social capital’. I set up Talk About Local to help spread the benefits of a good, simple, cheap community site to as many areas as possible.
My civil service career was fantastically varied – from the DTI to Downing Street. I was Private Secretary and Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Tony Blair, Chair of the OECD Expert Group on e-government, I commissioned and delivered the Power of Information work that kicked off government interest in open data. Throughout my career I was heavily involved in regulatory policy across a range of sectors and as one of the creators of OFCOM I remain interested in the media regulation scene. I remain politically neutral. My work in Kings Cross led to be sitting at the Cabinet table with Prime Minister Cameron to launch the big society agenda in May 2010. I am also a trustee of the Indigo Trust, where we make grants to help people find or create the information they need to make their lives better – mainly in sub-Saharan Africa.
I have held several public appointments of sorts – I was a founder member of the Local Public Data Panel focusing on transparency and open data in local government for CLG. I am currently a member of the Crime and Justice Sector Transparency Panel looking at open data and transparency in the police and CJS. I was a member of the Government Digital Service’s ‘Digital Advisory Board’. For the previous government I was a member of the selection panel for the Independently Funded News Consortia.
I have two small children and try to stay sane by walking in the countryside when I can – I have done 600 miles of the South West Coast path carrying a tent and hope to finish it one day. I enjoy film, literature architecture, the countryside, food and rugby.