The British Government Will Exclusively Use Open Standards for Public Documents

On Thursday, July 22nd, 2014, the British government announced its decision to move toward the exclusive use of open standards for publishing documents. The British government explains that this choice is based on the importance of opening formats and on its independence from the various market suppliers. April welcomes this decision and hopes that it will inspire the French government to generalize open standards across its administration.

The selected open standards are as follows:

  • PDF/A or HTML for viewing government documents;
  • Open Document Format (ODF) for sharing or collaborating on government documents.

This decision is the outcome of a public consultation on the use of open standards by the British government. It concludes a lively debate that went on for several months and which included a dialog with the civil society, and opportunities for citizens to provide input for the considered policies1. April observes with great satisfaction that the arguments of interoperability, of absence of technology lockup, and of opportunities for all to communicate with the government, have prevailed. April, however, regrets that this is still not the case in France, where the "2009 general interoperability guidelines” continue the confusion [fr] about office document formats by blocking generalization of open formats. April calls on the French government to follow the British example and implement the generalization of open formats.