Government names members of Open Standards Board

The Cabinet Office has named the 10 members of its Open Standards Board to help government bodies comply with open standards principles

The Cabinet Office has named the 10 members of its Open Standards Board that will begin to look at technologies to help government bodies comply with "open standards principles" when purchasing technology.

In November the government launched its long-awaited response to the open standards consultation, which will force departments to use the principles for all software interoperability and data and document formats. If they do not use the principles they will have to apply for an exemption, said the Cabinet Office.

This is part of the government’s attempt to give greater choice and drive the use of cheaper open source software, and to ultimately cut the cost of public sector IT.

The board is chaired by government chief technology officer Liam Maxwell. The other nine board members, drawn from the public and private sectors, are: John Atherton, founder of Surevine; Matthew Dovey, from the Joint Information Systems Committee; Adam Cooper from Bolton University; Paul Downey, from the Government Digital Service; Jeni Tennison, from the Open Data Institute; Lee Edwards, from the London Borough of Redbridge; Tim Kelsey, from the NHS Commissioning Board; John Sheridan, from The National Archives; and Chris Ulliott, from the Communications-Electronics Security Group (CESG) at GCHQ.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said open standards should make government IT cheaper, more flexible, more connected and attuned to providing user-focused public services.
“With interoperable systems based on open standards we can build in flexibility and cut costs by avoiding lock-in to suppliers or products, achieve a truly level playing field for a diverse range of suppliers, and provide better services for taxpayers," said Maude.

"We expect savings on IT in 2012/13 alone to be over £400m – and we know we can save more.”

The Cabinet Office said the first set of challenges published on the Standards Hub signalled the beginning of setting specific open standards for use in government. 

The Cabinet Office said the challenges it faced include: internet protocol addressing on government network; multi-agency incident transfer; interoperability standards for end user devices; electronic communications; cross-platform character encoding; publishing data on government spending; persistent resolvable identifiers; and describing and sharing  information.

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