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The Open Standards Board

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Digital strategy

In the Open Standards Principles we said that we'd set up an Open Standards Board to help us to decide which open standards to use in government IT.

Now that we've published the first 8 challenges on the Standards Hub, it's time to set up the Board and start making those decisions.

The Board will focus on making sure that our open standards meet users’ needs and achieve a level playing field for open source and proprietary software. They will consider the ideas and proposals that users put forward through the Hub and will advise us on which open standards to implement.

We'll be sharing their discussions and recommendations through the Standards Hub.

Who's on the Board and why?

We ran an advertisement early in 2012 for volunteers outside government to join the Board. At that stage we weren't clear on the exact role of the Board so we waited until the Open Standards Principles were set before we made a decision on who should be invited to join.

The volunteers we've selected have fantastic track records in using, implementing and developing open standards. They will join me and other experts who we've invited to contribute.

The full line up is:

  • Liam Maxwell, Government Digital Service (Chair)
  • John Atherton, Surevine
  • Adam Cooper, Bolton University
  • Matthew Dovey, Joint Information Systems Committee
  • Paul Downey, Government Digital Service
  • Lee Edwards, London Borough of Redbridge
  • Tim Kelsey, NHS Commissioning Board
  • John Sheridan, The National Archives
  • Jeni Tennison, Open Data Institute
  • Chris Ulliott, CESG

You can find out more about each of the Board members on the Standards Hub. We’re waiting to hear back from one other applicant and will update the Standards Hub if there are any changes.

How you can get involved

We want how we select our open standards to be a completely transparent process and we're keen to draw in ideas from all of our users. I encourage you to register on the Standards Hub and to get involved in the debate.

When you register, you'll notice that we ask you to tick a box if you'd be willing to get involved more directly – for example as a volunteer through working groups or panels set up to investigate detailed proposals.

Anyone who registers and ticks this box could be invited to join us in groups such as these, particularly if you've put forward ideas through the Hub that we need to investigate further.

The work of these groups will be transparent too so it's entirely up to you if you want to accept an invitation to work with us in this way. If not, you can continue providing your thoughts or follow the discussion through the Standards Hub.

If you’d like to apply to be a volunteer member of the Open Standards Board in the future, we’ll be keeping the recruitment process open so you can send in your application at any time. If a vacancy becomes available and you have a particular area of expertise that we’re missing, we’ll be in touch.

We very much look forward to getting the debate started so we can set the right open standards that deliver better, more connected digital services.

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  1. Comment by Peter posted on

    Are geospatial standards being considered? If so, who is focusing on that?

    • Replies to Peter>

      Comment by lhumphries_GDS posted on

      Our focus is on open standards for software interoperability, data and document formats. None of the current challenges have a geospatial element to them. However, some of the suggestions for other areas for us to focus on in future ( could include geospatial aspects.

      The lead for a standards challenge is appointed when we agree to take forward a challenge. We don't yet know which of the suggested challenges we'll be taking on, so we can't put you in touch for the moment.

      For challenges that focus on geospatial standards, a challenge owner would need, for instance, to take into consideration the implications that the INSPIRE directive imposes on certain aspects of the geospatial arena.

      • Replies to lhumphries_GDS>

        Comment by Steven Ramage posted on

        If you go here - and click on the PDF [OGC Market Report: Open Standards and INSPIRE] there's already an initial document that I co-authored on the INSPIRE and geospatial standards topic when I worked for the OGC; I now work for Ordnance Survey.

        INSPIRE is just one of several Europe-wide topics (GMES, EULF, WFD, etc.) the geospatial standards cross into scores of domains and communities of practice (aviation, defence and intelligence, emergency and disaster management, energy, environmental monitoring, geology, meteorology, utilities...) that are represented by government and work with government. Location is ubiquitous, so hopefully it will be represented.

  2. Comment by Adam Cooper’s Work Blog » Open Standards Board and the Cabinet Office Standards Hub posted on

    [...] convened via a press release from Francis Maude, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, and via a blog post from Liam Maxwell, the government's Chief Technology Officer. This is a welcome development but what chuffed me most [...]

  3. Comment by Dave Ankers posted on

    Great to see some progress on this. Will government departments be encouraged to suggest standards for inclusion based on our experience of delivering services to users? Happy to get involved.

    • Replies to Dave Ankers>

      Comment by lhumphries_GDS posted on

      Absolutely, Dave.
      You can register on the Standards Hub, make suggestions for new challenges or respond with ideas on open standards we could use for the challenges that are currently live.
      When you register, you can also tick the box to say you're happy to get more involved and we may be in touch to follow up on your ideas.

  4. Comment by lhumphries_GDS posted on

    This blog post mentioned that we were waiting to hear back from one other applicant. We're really pleased that Alex Brown of Griffin Brown Digital Publishing Ltd has also decided to join us as a volunteer Board member.