EC ISA unit presents six cont…

EC ISA unit presents six contract clauses for re-use of IT solutions

Published on: 27/02/2013

Public administrations that want to make sure that IT solutions they are procuring can be shared and re-used, can now choose from six standard 'contract clauses'. The clauses are published today by the European Commission's ISA programme (Interoperability Solutions for European Public Administrations).

The clauses could help public administrations that write their own code and want to distribute the application. Or that use open source software and want to repackage and redistribute it. They can be used by authorities that want to share software that is written by an external contractor. The articles could also prevent authorities from getting locked-in to a software solution.

The provisions can help to make sure that all parts of an IT project can be made available for sharing and re-use. This includes documentation and lists that classify computer data and other such semantic assets. "It even helps when a public administration wants to build a community of developers around a software project", says Clémentine Valayer, one of the IT consultants involved. "Clause 2 asks suppliers to describe, for example, which software repository they'll use or how they will encourage contributions from others."

The contract clauses are intended for public administrations in the EU member states, but also for the ICT projects from the EC itself. "We would like to see some of these clauses appear in relevant EC's future calls for tender", says Szabolcs Szekacs, one of the ISA project officers. "For example, when we're tendering a software solution that is to be re-used by the member states."

The ISA programme wants to help European public administrations to share and re-use software solutions and other IT assets. The six contract clauses are one of the legal instruments that the unit makes available on its Joinup platform. The clauses take into account the European Commission guideline on how to make best use of ICT standards in tender specifications. This guideline, part of the EC's Digital Agenda, will be published in the next few months.

More information:
Standard Sharing and re-using clauses for contracts
Joinup news item