A new quality mark to help local authorities gauge the openness of IT systems has been unveiled by the Open Source Academy.
The academy, a partnership between local government bodies and open source experts, has launched the Certified Open programme to help local government IT managers make procurement decisions based on the openness of products and services.
It aims to avoid the risk of lock-in, where future IT development or integration with other systems is hampered by restrictive proprietary formats or lack of interoperability.
The Certified Open programme uses a self-assessment system, with suppliers assessing their own products or services against a framework and marking it gold, silver or bronze depending on the extent to which they comply with open standards.
The framework has been drawn up by a Certified Open council, which will also oversee a code of conduct for organisations and individuals using Certified Open standards.
If purchasers believe that a supplier has made false claims about a product or service, they can appeal through the programme's administrators, OpenForum Europe and the Institute of IT Training.