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 informed procurement decisions based upon 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 how far it complies with openness 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 its product or services, they can appeal through the programme’s administrators, OpenForum Europe and the Institute of IT Training.
Bob Griffith, of the Society of IT Management, said, “For local authorities to be able to deliver on its targets for improved service delivery to their citizens, IT must be able to play its part by both integrating current applications and delivering new services.
“Working in an environment in which speed of innovation is essential, if we find that lock-in has occurred, then we will be unable to achieve the aggressive targets that are being set.”