[okfn-discuss] Fwd: Open Source, Open Standards and Re–Use: Government Action Plan

Jonathan Gray jonathan.gray at okfn.org
Mon Mar 2 18:59:49 UTC 2009

Thought this might be of interest here!


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Glyn Wintle <glynwintle at yahoo.com>
Date: Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 12:04 PM
Subject: [ORG-discuss] Open Source, Open Standards and Re–Use:
Government Action Plan
To: Open Rights Group open discussion list
<org-discuss at lists.openrightsgroup.org>

This open source strategy sets out the
steps we need to take across Government, and with our IT suppliers, to
take advantage of the benefits of open source. They need feed back:


Open Source has been one of the most significant cultural developments
in IT and beyond over the last two decades: it has shown that
individuals, working together over the Internet, can create products
that rival and sometimes beat those of giant corporations; it has
shown how giant corporations themselves, and Governments, can become
more innovative, more agile and more cost-effective by building on the
fruits of community work; and from its IT base the Open Source
movement has given leadership to new thinking about intellectual
property rights and the availability of information for re–use by

This Government has long had the policy, last formally articulated in
2004, that it should seek to use Open Source where it gave the best
value for money to the taxpayer in delivering public services. While
we have always respected the long-held beliefs of those who think that
governments should favour Open Source on principle, we have always
taken the view that the main test should be what is best value for the

Over the past five years many government departments have shown that
Open Source can be best for the taxpayer – in our web services, in the
NHS and in other vital public services.

But we need to increase the pace:

  1. We want to ensure that we continue to use the best possible
solutions for public services at the best value for money; and that we
pay a fair price for what we have to buy.
  2. We want to share and re-use what the taxpayer has already
purchased across the public sector – not just to avoid paying twice,
but to reduce risks and to drive common, joined up solutions to the
common needs of government.
  3. We want to encourage innovation and innovators - inside
Government by encouraging open source thinking, and outside Government
by helping to develop a vibrant market.
  4. We want to give leadership to the IT industry and to the wider
economy to benefit from the information we generate and the software
we develop in Government

So we consider that the time is now right to build on our record of
fairness and achievement and to take further positive action to ensure
that Open Source products are fully and fairly considered throughout
government IT; to ensure that we specify our requirements and publish
our data in terms of Open Standards; and that we seek the same degree
of flexibility in our commercial relationships with proprietary
software suppliers as are inherent in the open source world.

This open source strategy addresses these key points. It sets out the
steps we need to take across Government, and with our IT suppliers, to
take advantage of the benefits of open source.

Tom Watson MP
Minister for Digital Engagement

ORG-discuss mailing list
ORG-discuss at lists.openrightsgroup.org

Jonathan Gray

Community Coordinator
The Open Knowledge Foundation

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