GDS to merge technical and data panels for assessing open standards

Written by Rebecca Hill on 7 November 2016 in News
News

The Government Digital Service has revealed plans to simplify the processes for assessing open standards.

GDS said it wasn't always clear which panel should be assessing each standard - Photo credit: Flickr, Richard Rutter, CC BY 2.0

The open standards principles are used to judge whether the standard technical requirements used in government digital technologies are sufficiently accessible.

The overall aim is to encourage and support the use of open standards across government, ensuring that standards on software interoperability and data formats meet user needs across government and allow for the use of common components.

However, the GDS open standard team has said it wants to “streamline the processes we have, so we can better support the community and get a clearer picture of what works and what doesn’t”.


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The first step towards this – merging the technical and data assessment panels – has been revealed in a blogpost by Terence Eden and Lawrence Greenwood.

The panels evaluate standards and then make recommendations to the open standards board, which makes a decision on whether to adopt the standard.

But Eden and Greenwood said: “It’s often been hard to work out which standards should be reviewed by each panel so we've taken the decision to combine these into one flexible expert panel.”

This panel will have an appointed chair or co-chair, and membership will include a range of expertise that means there is suitable expertise for whatever subject is under discussion.

The GDS open standards team is also looking at ways it can improve the user experience for people working with standards and how to engage with people in government who are involved in external standard development.

Eden and Greenwood said that the team is planning a deeper discovery to look at how to encourage more use of open standards once the initial phase has been completed. 

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