As part of the Government’s ICT strategy, and in a bid to encourage the appropriate use of open source software (“OSS”) in Government ICT projects, the Cabinet Office yesterday published an OSS procurement toolkit. The toolkit is made up of an introduction to OSS for Government IT, an ICT advice note on OSS procurement, a note on OSS options for use in government and a note on the total cost of ownership.

The Government is looking to increase awareness and improve understanding of OSS and so a key purpose of the toolkit is to level the playing field for both open source and proprietary software and ensure that some of the myths associated with open source are dispelled. It has been provided for those who need to consider, evaluate or procure open source solutions as well those who want to know more about open source in general.

Some of the biggest barriers to use of OSS in Government ICT projects are concerns about OSS security, the potential impact of OSS licence terms on other software and intellectual property rights and that the procurement process itself is not conducive to using OSS (for example, the current model ICT services agreement doesn’t include detailed OSS related provisions). To further address these issues a procurement policy note on OSS is due to be published before April 2012. This policy note will be an extension of the advice note on OSS procurement and will be specifically aimed at procurement specialists.

The Government’s OSS toolkit can be found here.

The Government’s ICT strategy can be found here.

If you would like more information about OSS in connection with the model ICT services agreement, or in general, please contact us.