Law to be introduced in 2017
The use of open standards is to be made mandatory for public administrations in the Netherlands. A law proposed by MP Astrid Oosenbrug was adopted by the Lower House of the Parliament yesterday. According to the MP, the open standards requirement will be one of several changes to the country’s administrative law, introduced next year. “The minister earlier agreed to make open standards mandatory”, she said. “Parliament is making sure this actually happens.”
The first public administration that should improve its use of open standards, is the Parliament’s Lower House itself, Oosenbrug said. “Ironically, the Lower House published the adopted law on its website by providing a download link to a document in a proprietary format.”
When it needs to share documents in an electronically editable format, the lower house should do like the Upper House, and use the Open Document Format (ODT), a now 10 year old ISO standard, the MP said. “We should give the right example.”
Switching to open standards will increase interoperability and lower costs for citizens and companies, Oosenbrug said, while calling on public administrations to overcome their resistance to change.
The legislative proposal also instructs the government to actively promote the use of open source software. Oosenbrug wants the government to make this a task for the open government resource centre Leer- en Expertisepunt Open Overheid.
The MP expects the open standards requirement to be introduced in 2017, as part of the changes to administrative law needed for the Generic Digital Infrastructure.
Michiel Leenaars, director of the NLnet foundation - one of the main organisers of the ODF Plugfests - described the call for legislation as an “attractive and cost-effective way of breaking the impasse in government innovation”. “It makes the public sector responsible for the technology that it uses to interact with others”, he said.
Votes on Lower House motions(in Dutch)