The British government plans to continue to work on the equality of free software within public procurement. All authorities will be migrated to the open platform gov.uk and will perform all government transactions digitally. The open source portal of the European Commission reported that the British coalition government announced in its mid-term report that it will continue to heavily rely on free software.
On the other hand, the report expresses the will of the government to create further opportunities in which free software and proprietary software can equally compete for public contracts. Public tenders are to be opened specifically for free software solutions, and large IT projects are to be distributed among several tenders.
According to Mark Taylor, CEO of open-source company Sirius, the government has shown a genuine interest in small and medium enterprises with an opportunity to participate in tenders. He fears, however, that the larger departments will resist and want to hold on to proprietary software which will make it difficult for open source vendors. The report announces further that in the next 15 months, all government agencies will be migrated to the open platform gov.uk.
This platform is developed on free software by the Government Digital Service (GDS). For Taylor, this very good news, because the platform is developed from the ground up using free software. This means that all of the authorities websites are running on a specially designed open-source platform. GDS is the flagship open source initiative of the government. As the government already announced that all government transactions will only be carried out digitally; there will be over 100,000 transactions carried out annually. Taylor assumes that GDS will also be responsible for the transactions which means that free software will become even more important for the government.