We were concerned that Cabinet Office inexplicably formally withdrew the first ever govt definition of an open standard.
However and at last they’ve published consultation on a new definition.
First off, credit where credit is due. The government is proposing royalty free open standards. Their definition is about as good as it can get.
That’s the good news.
The consultation is a model of how consultations should be conducted. So much better than the ill thought through standards survey. Unfortunately it restricts itself to seeking views on the definition of an open standard:
- equivocating on which standards should be adopted
- offering committee oversight as a substitute for requiring open standards
- using “comply or explain” aka “I’ll do what I want, thanks” for adoption
For the first time reference is made to the wider context for open standards in the economy. Which is a good thing. Unfortunately the consultation fails to take the next step and address the systemic role that public sector ICT plays in the economy. Instead, missing a strategic opportunity, it leaves public sector ICT positioned as a departmental purchasing decision.
There’s still work to do and we’ve got plans to contribute constructively.
— Gerry Gavigan, Chair, 10 February 2011
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