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Government begins selection of open standards for documents

Caroline Baldwin

The government has begun the process to select open standards for documents.

The Open Standards Board will consider proposals for possible open standards formats that should be used for documents in government.

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As part of the government’s aim to become more transparent, open standards for document formats will enable government departments to operate more efficiently by sharing documents and working on them together.

The government also claims open standards for documents will make it easier for citizens to access and work with the information it publishes.

The Standards Hub website has published the challenges of selecting open standards and asks for ideas for possible open standards which will be commented on and finally chosen by the board.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said: “To find the best open standards for government we want to encourage an open and informed debate. We set up the Open Standards Board to identify the standards needed for users of government information and services.”

The Open Standards Board includes experts from inside and outside the government who have experience in open standards. 

“Their expertise, combined with the government’s own research and user feedback through the Standards Hub, ensures that decisions are properly informed,” said Maude.

The open standards policy was launched in 2011, but was withdrawn in January 2012 following lobbying from Microsoft.

A month later in February 2012, championed by Maude, the government pushed through a policy of using open standards when purchasing technology. He also then launched a consultation on the definition of open standards.


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