Today’s appointment of members of the Open Standards Board means the government can get to work on identifying the standards that will allow cheaper and more flexible ways of buying and using its IT, said Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office.
These open standards will underpin a common and secure IT infrastructure for delivery of user-focused services to citizens and business.
The Open Standards Board will concentrate on making sure that government’s open standards meet users’ needs and achieve a level playing field for open source and proprietary software. The standards will encourage more flexible IT contracts and provide access to the wider marketplace, reflecting the government’s determination to move away from tie-in to long-term deals.
Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said:
Open standards are at the heart of making government IT cheaper, more flexible, more connected and attuned to providing user-focused public services.
The Open Standards Board has a key role to play in establishing the open standards that should be used when the government buys its IT, so that we can make sure that we choose what best meets our users’ needs.
With interoperable systems based on open standards we can build in flexibility and cut costs by avoiding lock-in to suppliers or products, achieve a truly level playing field for a diverse range of suppliers, and provide better services for taxpayers. We expect savings on IT in 2012/13 alone to be over £400m – and we know we can save more.
The Board appointees include experts from inside and outside government with proven track records in open standards development and implementation. Their expertise, combined with the government’s own research and feedback received through its online Standards Hub – the centre of engagement for all government-IT-related open standards activity – will ensure that decisions are properly informed.
Last month, the first set of IT challenges that the government believes open standards could help to solve was published on the Standards Hub.
Notes to editors
An introduction to the Board members is available on the Standards Hub.
- In November 2012 the government published Open Standards Principles with which all government bodies must comply, or seek exemption, on:
- software interoperability; and
- data and document formats in government IT
- The Standards Hub will provide a transparent engagement channel to discuss and share information on the challenges and the standards that the government is considering. The Hub is currently in live beta testing.
- The first set of (eight) challenges published on the Standards Hub signal the beginning of our setting specific open standards for use in government. The challenges include:
- internet protocol addressing on government network;
- multi-agency incident transfer;
- interoperability standards for end user devices;
- electronic communications;
- cross-platform character encoding;
- publishing data on government spending;
- persistent resolvable identifiers;
- describing and sharing our information