Guidance

Make use of open standards

Build technology that uses open standards to ensure your technology works and communicates with other technology, and is easily upgraded and expanded.

To meet point 4 of the Technology Code of Practice your plan or design must show you are using or have considered using open standards and data. You must make your technology project or programme as interoperable as possible.

You’ll have to explain how you’re doing this as part of the spend control process.

How open source differs to open standards

Open source is a way of developing and distributing software. The code is often written collaboratively, and it can be downloaded, used and changed by anyone.

Open standards are a set of rules designed to do a specific job in technology. They are also designed collaboratively and free to use. Open standards allow open source and closed source (proprietary) software to work together.

How open standards help your programme

Open standards can be used when designing individual elements of the solution.

Using open standards means you:

  • save time and money by reusing things that are already available
  • increase compatibility with all stakeholders
  • potentially open up the range of companies you can purchase from as more of them are likely to use the same standard as you
  • can move between different technologies when you need to and don’t get locked into contracts

Build interoperability into your programme

Build flexibility into your technology by:

  • using open standards, complying with any that are compulsory for use in government, unless you’ve been granted an exemption
  • being clear what data your systems will hold, and which identifiers are in place to make sure the data can be used effectively
  • avoiding the duplication of data, and being very clear about their approved source
  • using RESTful APIs for integration where possible
Published 6 November 2017