How open standards are selected

There are 4 stages to selecting a cross-government open standard. The process of selecting them is transparent and open to everyone.

Suggestion stage

Suggest a challenge where using open standards might solve a current problem or improve an existing service.

Who’s involved:

  • users
  • government technology officials

This stage is used to find out what problems users of government services face that can potentially be solved with open standards.

You can suggest a challenge by explaining:

  • what the problem is
  • what the user needs are
  • what the benefits might be

You may include a particular standard as a possible solution when making your suggestion. You can also comment on others’ suggestions, and they’ll be able to comment on yours.

A group of technology officials in government will consider your suggestions and look at the benefits that these might deliver. If they decide to take up your suggestion they’ll work with the open standards team to identify and appoint a challenge owner.

Response stage

During this stage, you can review and comment on current challenges to suggest improvements.

You can:

  • suggest standards or approaches that might help solve a challenge
  • suggest alternative standards if one is already included in the challenge
  • give feedback on current challenges

Who’s involved:

  • users
  • challenge owner

When a challenge owner has agreed to take up a challenge the status will be updated in GitHub.

Proposal stage

The challenge owner will write a proposal for the Open Standards Panel and Open Standards Board. You can review and comment on the proposal to suggest improvements on GitHub.

Who’s involved:

  • users
  • challenge owner
  • Open Standards Panel

On GitHub you can:

  • comment on proposals to help challenge owners develop them
  • find details of any planned workshops or events and register your interest in attending

If you have commented on the proposal or challenge before you may be contacted directly and invited to attend.

Everyone involved in workshops is asked to declare any personal, business or financial interests. These are published in the meeting notes.

The challenge owner will consider information from workshops and comments when developing the proposal and will:

  • lead the work to investigate proposals, researching the approach and assessing the proposed standards
  • work with the Open Standards Panel to evaluate the approach against the needs set out in the challenge
  • submit a draft standards profile, with the panel’s agreement, to the Open Standards Board, including references to the proposed open standards

Solution stage

Who’s involved:

  • Open Standards Board

Everyone involved in the Open Standards Board is asked to declare any personal, business or financial interests at the start of each session. Any interests are published in the meeting notes.

The Open Standards Board will:

  • consider the proposal from the challenge owner
  • consider any periphery information from workshops
  • consider the recommendations of the Open Standards Panel
  • come to a final decision on whether to use the recommended Open Standard for the UK government and what information should be in its technical standard profile published on GOV.UK

The next actions depend on the Board’s decision. If the proposal is:

  • accepted - the standard will be published on GOV.UK with its technical standard profile
  • accepted with conditions - the proposal is returned with questions and suggestions for amendments
  • rejected - this will be recorded in the minutes of the meeting with the reasoning and published on GOV.UK

Currently, meeting minutes are recorded on GitHub

The board will decide whether to recommend a compulsory use of a standards profile. The Chair of the Open Standards Board makes the final decision.

Published 15 April 2013