#ukgovOSS Action Plan

Submitted by Neil McEvoy on Mon, 2009-05-18 16:20. ::

The Open Government Network (Open-Government.net) is one of our major R&D programs to create open source solutions.

It describes how Open Systems can be applied to improve government in a multitude of different ways, such as using open source software internally to reduce costs, using web 2.0 communities to transform business processes or how open standards can enable interoperable medical records.

For example recently the UK government outlined their Action Plan for open source, asking that experts provide web 2.0 commentary via indexing it with the tag #ukgovOSS. They want to maximize cost savings through free software adoption but also there is a call out for a much larger, international best practices program, that is actually what we have intended iFOSSF.org for.


It's become clear to the UK government that proprietary, 'closed' solutions carry a much higher cost due to other factors like lifetime "exit costs" and so they want to develop the open procurement standards for consolidating contract spending via a focus on open source licencing.

However this is far more than a number crunching exercise, they're also seeking to harness the ultra-efficient manner in which open source distributes best practices. FOSS evolves so effectively because developers are so quick to reuse the work of peers, and government wants to internalize this effect to engender "joined up" government.

The call to action is essentially:

  1. create an "ecosystem" that can assess maturity and sustainability of specific FOSS products to define "Government Class" solutions,
  2. identify and incorporate best practice open standards that can form a "Cross Government Enterprise Architecture framework",
  3. and to populate this system with qualified individuals and suppliers via a Government IT profession that defines the skills required.

Also, they don't just want to adopt open source, they want to create it too, publishing their own IT investments back to the global pool, and do so in a manner that encourages "open source thinking" innovators in and out of government.

Our community portal here at iFOSSF.org is based on the leading open source application Drupal, and it will be customized to provide the functionality required for these activities. This will include tools and services to develop frameworks for product skill assessments, certifications, and be driven by headline programs that are aligned with funding opportunities.

Then we will look to dive into specific government process areas and add the more specific functionality required to meet each one. We have started to identify areas such as Sustainable Community, how the public can become collaboratively involved in local planning processes, using social media for e-procurement of local consultants, and 'Open Healthcare', including global EHR open standards as well as regional roll out skills programs.