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OSEPA Open Source Policy Statement

UK government open source procurement toolkit

Tools to help public administrations procure open source were published by the UK government. The toolkit is part of the cabinet's ICT strategy to "create a level playing field for the use of innovative ICT solutions".

According to the introduction, the six documents are intended "to ensure that there is a level playing field for open source and proprietary software and that some of the myths associated with open source are dispelled. It is intended for those who need to consider, evaluate or procure open source solutions as well as anyone just wanting to know more about open source."

Open source software is underused across Government and the wider public sector, the toolkit explains, "despite the current and previous administrations intention to promote its use".

One of the documents, titled "ICT advise notice- Procurement of Open Source" provides "high level advice on how to ensure open source software is fairly considered when procuring an ICT solution. Providing a level playing field for open source entails ensuring that the requirements specified are justifiable and output based taking into account operational and technical requirements and cost. Procurers should not be naming a particular software vendor or drafting the tender documentation in a way that favours a particular vendor. To do so is a breach of EU procurement rules."

More information:
Open Source Procurement Toolkit
Guardian Professional announcement