The UK government is working with the National Computing Centre (NCC) to develop a standard for its technical framework which links systems across the public sector.
The e-government Interoperability Framework (e-GIF) sets out a series of standards for data interchange across the public sector and is based on XML schemas for data interchange and presentation.
Anwar Choudhury, director of technology policy at the Office of the E-envoy, told vnunet.com that e-GIF "has become a popular specification and there is a demand for it to be branded. We are working on a branding process for e-GIF compliance with the NCC."
Stressing that it will be a non-mandatory standard, NCC chief executive Michael Gough said: "Because it will be about standards for the physical format of data interchange it will not imply anything about the product.
"It will focus on the extent to which compliance can be assessed and, in doing so, will build a reference model for making that assessment.
"The government wants widespread acceptance of e-GIF to be the basis for interoperability.
"The framework will help form a level of expertise for users to determine what levels of compliance vendors are offering. It's about reducing risk."
Explaining that the e-GIF standard has been extremely successful, Choudhury, who was attending the XML and Web Services conference in London this week, stated: "Joined-up government needs joined up information systems.
"We have 50,000 to 60,000 systems that must be interconnected. e-GIF allows a seamless information flow.
"Two years ago when we unveiled e-GIF, we were not at all sure how successful it would be. We wanted to decrease cost and risk for government and industry.
"Today it has become an essential specification. It is surprising because normally when you mandate something you meet resistance.
"But it has worked because no-one is having to waste time on making decisions to ensure a seamless infrastructure."
The e-GIF specification is updated every six months, and version four is due for release in April or May.
The latest version will have a standards profile for channel devices such as televisions and mobile phones to ensure "pervasive access", according to Choudhury.
Its success is becoming worldwide, he added. "It has become an international specification. The US, Australia and many European countries are adopting it. It's great to have the world come together on adopting standards," he concluded.
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