AGIMO calls for submissions on its COE policy

Some 265,000 PC operating environments across Australian government agencies

The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) has released details of its common operating environment (COE) policy and is now calling for public submissions.

The policy, which is available from the Department of Finance and Deregulation website, is intended to mandate a file format that supports office suites within government agencies.

Public comments on the AGIMO blog will be used as submissions in the review.

“Based on a survey conducted in 2010, a large number of agencies have signalled their intention to move to either Office 2007 or 2010 as part of their next upgrade,” said AGIMO first assistant secretary, John Sheridan, in a posting on the AGIMO website.

The survey, which was conducted in April and May 2010, found that there are 265,000 PC operating environments across Australian Government agencies.

Of these, more than 99.5 per cent are Windows-based operating systems. Mac, Solaris and Linux were also represented but each had less than 0.5 per cent combined representation. MS Office is used on more than 86 per cent of the PCs.

“To support the capability of these office productivity suites, the Office Open XML format, based on the ECMA-376 1st edition, was chosen to provide the greatest level of compatibility,” the statement read.

AGIMO’s policy does not preclude other formats but seeks to ensure that at a minimum, one common format can be accessed on all Australian Government computers.

Sheridan said the COE policy only affects the manner in which documents are exchanged between agencies.

“The requirements for accessibility mean that documents available to the public through government websites, for example, are published in alternative formats to ensure the needs of citizens are met,” the AGIMO post reads.

After consultation with more than 100 Government CIOs, a draft policy was published on the AGIMO blog as a discussion paper.

The policy follows the Office’s strategy to develop Government 2.0 policy, which encourages Government agencies to publish more public sector information online.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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