Open Standards & Open Source in e-Government

tansygoobertownInternet και Εφαρμογές Web

8 Δεκ 2013 (πριν από 4 χρόνια και 7 μήνες)

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Open Standards & Open Source in

Who are we?

One of 33 boroughs that make up Greater London

We have 52 elected representatives, a resident
population of 200K which rises to 800K during the day.

We have the 2nd biggest knowledge economy in the UK

We have an annual budget of £1.3bn euros and deliver
more than 500 services to citizens

government in brief

We have a top 5 website (socitm better connected)

9K pages of content

We can take payment for more than 90 different services

More than 10m euros collected in online payments last

We have over 100K unique visitors each month

We have a web team of five people.

How did we get there?

In 2001 the Office of the deputy prime minister (ODPM)
instructed local authorities that they were to have all of
their services online by 2005

In 2001 we had an award winning website with just
under 2000 pages of content

We had a web team of 5 people

What happened next?

The ODPM issued a call for projects to enable local
government to achieve its objectives

Camden entered a project in colloboration with four other
London Boroughs

The project sought to create

standards for content management system for local

An open source content management

system that could deliver the standards

Why standards are important

The citizen should not have to learn a new way of
navigating a website each time they go to a different

Interoperability becomes very complex without common

If you don’t have a common way of identifying a service
how can you know if you are delivering all of them online

How were the standards created?

A core team work on developing the first draft of
standards which were then tested in a series of
workshops with up to 40 participants in each workshop.

The draft standards were then imported into a test
system in which members of the public were invited to
assign services to categories

Testing took place in Libraries in different parts of

The results of the test were used to further refine the

Why the Open Source CMS is

In 2001 CMS were very expensive, costing in
the region of 500K euros

No local authority had a cms

Proprietary vendors were unwilling to adapt their
systems to incorporate e
government metadata

What is the APLAWS cms?

It is a j2E based cms built on redhat technology

It can hold content in any language with an ISO font

It can display information across any device, mobile
phones, digitv etc

It is semantic web compliant and completely

It is free

What happened next to the standards?

The Aplaws category list was handed over to the
Improvement and development agency (IdEA) and was
refined to become the local government category list

Almost all municipalities in England use the lgcl as a
basic navigation structure for their websites

Other CMS vendors have implemented it as an open
standard, as a result of the open source competition

What happened next to the standards?

The LGCL was taken on by another ODPM
funded project called the local e
standards body (legsb)

It then became the Integrated Public Sector

Legsb was disbanded at the end of March 2006

What happened next to the CMS

The first versions of APLAWS was taken on by about 6

A second version of APLAWS called APLAWS+ was
released in 2004

There have been 3 code releases since 2004 with a 4th
due in July this year

There are more than 30 different public sector
organisations using APLAWS, including 19
municipalities in the UK and the United Nations
Development Programme

What have we learnt?

That standards can develop a life of their own.

Don’t release a standard and then change it any more
frequently than once every 2 years. It takes that long
ot get everyone on the first version

That agreeing standards early allows for more
interoperability between systems later

Creating a front facing standard allowed vendors of
back office systems to provide local government
standards for their own software. Such as CRM or

What have we learnt?

That CMS systems require a different skill set to
configure and maintain

Not all muncipalities have such expertise in house
which makes an open source system difficult to

APLAWS+ can create mulitiple sites

If we did the project again we would invite the smaller
municipalities to utilise this feature to save costs and
to share content production. East Riding county
council have used it to provide sites for more than 70

What will we share?


Project documentation is available at

Join the user group

potential users or interested parties
always welcome

Join the discussion groups on

Let you techies loose at

Contact us

Come and see us in Camden!

Thank you for your attention

Aingaran Pillai