Press release

Government bodies must comply with Open Standards Principles

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

From today all government bodies must comply with an agreed set of standards to make our IT more open, cheaper and better connected.

From today all government bodies must comply with Open Standards Principles, an agreed set of standards to make our IT more open, cheaper and better connected, Minister for Cabinet Office, Francis Maude said today.

The Open Standards Principles have been developed following the public consultation ‘Open Standards: Open Opportunities - flexibility and efficiency in Government IT’ which took place from February to June this year. The principles will help government to deliver more innovative IT services and further drive savings and encourage more competition for government contracts.

There has been overwhelming support from the public and the IT community for setting an open standards policy for software interoperability, data and document formats:

  • nearly 70% of respondents believe the principles would improve innovation, competition and choice in the provision of government services
  • over 70% agree that they would help improve value for money

Francis Maude said:

We know that there are more real savings to be made in government IT contracts - in the first half of this year, we have already saved £409 million on ICT services.

Government must be better connected to the people it serves and partners who can work with it - especially small businesses, voluntary and community organisations. Having open information and software that can be used across government departments will result in lower licensing costs in government IT, and reduce the cost of lock-in to suppliers and products.

It is only right that we are encouraging competition and creating a level playing field for all companies to ensure we are getting the best price for the taxpayer.

From today, all government bodies must comply with Open Standards Principles for:

  • software interoperability
  • data and document formats in government IT
  • apply for an exemption

Notes to editors

  1. The Government ICT Strategy, published on 30 March 2011, committed the government to creating a common and secure IT infrastructure based on a suite of compulsory open standards, adopting appropriate open standards wherever possible.
  2. The ‘Open Standards: Open Opportunities flexibility and efficiency in government IT’ consultation was launched in February 2012.
  3. The Cabinet Office response to the consultation was published today and can be found here.
  4. Over 480 responses to consultation were received. They are available at www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk where permission to publish was granted.
  5. The announcement of the successful companies on the second G-Cloud supplier framework for cloud-based IT services, was announced on Friday 26 October 2012. It is a 12-month framework, with scope for individual contracts of up to 24 months. The total potential value of the procurement is £100m. Of the 458 suppliers on the framework, around 75% are SMEs.