2009. november 17., kedd

Government instructs itself to use open standards

The Dutch government last week published instructions on open IT standards, basically telling all public administrations that when implementing IT, the use of these is now the default. 

The government's policy on IT standards is in effect since April this year. However, the regulation has now also been approved by the European Commission, the ministry of Economic Affairs writes in a statement and was published on 21 November in the Staatscourant, a daily publication in which the government announces its laws and regulations.

When purchasing IT worth 50,000 euro or more, public administrations should as a matter of principle select IT solutions based on open standards.

The list of open IT standards to be used will be updated twice per year. The list currently mentions the Open Document Format (ODF) and Portable Document Format (PDF) to be used for electronic documents. The list also mentions standards for storing graphical information, using either the PNG or JPG graphical formats. Other standards include those for web sites and for exchanging certain types of administrative records.

The instruction is meant for all national governmental organisations but is also meant as an example for all other public administrations and semi-government institutions, the ministry of Economics Affairs writes in a statement published Monday.

Using open standards is now mandatory, the ministry explains, and exceptions are only allowed when this means the IT solutions is not available or is unsafe. The ministry: "If a government institution decides not to use an open standard, it must argue why not."

"Open IT standards should increase interoperability and decrease the government's depending on certain software suppliers", the ministry adds. "In time, this will improve the quality of governmental IT services, simplify the exchange of data between governments, citizens and companies, lead to digital sustainability and make IT systems more efficient."

More information:

Press release ministry of Economic Affairs (in Dutch)

Instructions (PDF, in Dutch)

List of open standards (in Dutch)

NOIV statement (in Dutch)

Source: Osor

26. Nov. 2009.