Feeds

Redmond man unmasked: UK.gov open standards stalled

Findings scrapped after 'conflict of interest'

The Power of One Infographic

Updated The government has had to delay closure of talks on open standards in public sector IT following what it called a "conflict of interest" involving a Microsoft consultant.

The Cabinet Office has extended the consultation period by a month and will also re-run a roundtable that had involved the consultant. The Cabinet says that it's scrapping outcomes from the round-table event. The consultation period will now close on 4 June.

The Cabinet Office, which is driving the government's digital change agenda, said it had found what could be seen as a "clear conflict of interest that should have been declared".

The consultant in question is Dr Andy Hopkirk, who'd facilitated the roundtable on 4 April on Competition and European Interaction and who had been paid by the Cabinet Office on a pro bono basis.

According to the Cabinet Office, Hopkirk hadn't declared he was advising Microsoft on the Open Standards consultation.

Hopkirk, who represents the National Computing Center on Microsoft's Interoperability Executive Customer Council, had told the Cabinet Office upon its discovery of his work for Microsoft that he had: "[n]ot been paid to specifically write their response to the Open Standards consultation but [that he] is engaged to help them tease out the issues".

The Open Standards consultation was opened in February to help specify requirements for government IT on interoperability and sharing of data and documents across government, and to help end single-vendor lock in.

Microsoft has lobbied the government hard on the issue of open standards. Its representatives have argued for a definition where technologies should be include that specify the release of IP in products on a Fair and Non Discriminatory Basis (FRAND) instead of RAND – a model that's favored by open-sourcers.

In a statement emailed to The Reg following this article, Microsoft said:

“We respect the Cabinet Office’s decision and look forward to continued constructive participation in the Open Standards consultation. Microsoft will make its consultation submission in due course, as will many other organisations, and that submission will be made publicly available.

“We can confirm that Dr. Hopkirk has worked with Microsoft on an ad hoc consultancy basis. In this role, he has provided his views on global government interoperability issues. This work is unrelated to the Cabinet Office’s invitation to Dr. Hopkirk to moderate the 4th April roundtable. We had no part in recommending him for this role, we had no input on the agenda and we did not receive any consultancy on the roundtable from Dr. Hopkirk either before or after the event.”®

This article has been updated to include comment from Microsoft.

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
Sit back down, Julian Assange™, you're not going anywhere just yet
Swedish court refuses to withdraw arrest warrant
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
British cops cuff 660 suspected paedophiles
Arrests people allegedly accessing child abuse images online
LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy
Why, we might as well have been buying AIR
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.