The Tories are considering proposals to limit the value of government IT contracts to £100m and promote the wider use of cheaper open source software.
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Shadow chancellor George Osborne has welcomed recommendations from Mark Thompson on how to deliver better value for money in IT procurement and create a level playing-field for open source software.
In March last year, Osborne invited Thompson, of the Judge Business School at Cambridge University, to develop independent recommendations to provide a better deal for taxpayers.
The key suggestions in his report, include:
- The government could save at least £600m per year if it adopted a more effective open IT procurement process. The open source savings would come not just from reduced licensing costs, but also by freeing government bodies from long-term, monopoly supply situations.
- New government data standards should be introduced across government, creating a level playing-field for open source software.
- These new standards would enable large-scale IT projects to be split into small modular components, meaning that the UK government should never again need to sign an IT software contract worth more than £100m - so no more IT "white elephants".
Osborne said, "We have led the debate on using open source software in government, and I am delighted that Thompson has come forward with these detailed recommendations.
"These proposals are not just about saving money - they are about modernising government, making the public sector more innovative and improving public services."