Government Moves Forward With Open Standards Agenda

Mar 30, 2015

The UK government claims a number of Departments are now starting to publish in open formats with support from major software providers.

Whitehall made the decision to use selected open document standards for viewing and sharing documents in July 2014 with the intension of making it easier for people to work with government and access the information it publishes.

The government set out a set of standards for Departments to meet, including which document file formats that all government bodies are required to use, claiming these rules would increase efficiency, sharing and collaboration for civil servants.

After the standards were agreed, a number of Departments began to publish implementation plans for moving to the agreed formats, with a number planning user research and pilots for different software as part of the move to Open Document Format (ODF).

Organisations already publishing in open formats include the Department for Transport, Department for Communities and Local Government, Department of Health, Department for Work and Pensions and HMRC.

Tech Giant Support

A number of large technology companies have lent their support to the government’s drive for open standards, including Microsoft and Google.

Microsoft has announced it will be providing enhanced support for ODF in its cloud based software, while Google is set to bring forward its planned support for exporting presentations in this open format in addition to the existing support for text and spreadsheets.

“The needs of users are at the heart of everything we do, and it’s great to see that major software suppliers such as Microsoft and Google are improving their support for open formats,” claimed Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude.

“This will give people more choice about the software they use. This supports our digital by default agenda which is helping save citizens, business and taxpayers £1.2bn over this Parliament as part of our long term economic plan,” he added.


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