Open standards

In September 2007, the Danish Government, Local Government Denmark and Danish Regions concluded an agreement on the use of mandatory open standards for software in the public sector. The agreement implies that all public authorities, from 1 January 2008, are to use seven sets of open standards for new IT solutions. The agreement also requires the authorities to be able to receive text documents in two open document standards.

From 1 January 2008, it will be mandatory for all public authorities to use a number of open standards for all new public IT solutions. This implies that public authorities are required to make sure that future IT solutions are based on, or support, these mandatory open standards. This is the result of an agreement concluded by the Government with Danish Regions and Local Government Denmark following discussions with the IT spokesmen of the political parties.

The agreement on introducing open standards in the public sector has been made for the purpose of promoting a competitive market for software and to enable public IT systems to exchange information across systems irrespective of the choice of software.

It is part of the agreement that the introduction of mandatory open standards should not involve increased costs to the public sector. In the light of this, an economic impact analysis will be made for each potential mandatory set of open standards. This analysis will ensure that the introduction of each individual standard is optimal from a socioeconomic viewpoint.

The following set of mandatory open standards will enter into force on 1 January 2008:

  • Standards for data exchange between public authorities (OIOXML)
  • Standards for electronic file and document handling (FESD)
  • Standards for electronic procurement in the public sector (OIOUBL)
  • Standards for digital signatures (OCES)
  • Standards for public websites / homepages and accessibility
  • Standards for IT security (DS484 - only for the government sector)
  • Standards for document exchange (ODF/OOXML)

The Government, Local Government Denmark and Danish Regions have agreed to continue focusing on standardisation and the use of open standards. This will contribute to ensuring cohesion in the public sector, with a software market supporting competition, innovation and diversity, which will be of benefit to the development of e-government.