§ Geraint Davies
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the Government policy is on the use of open source software to enable increased value for money in IT procurements across the public sector. 
§ Mr. Alexander
This Government are intent on securing the best value for money in its IT procurements by encouraging the development of a flourishing IT industry which supplies both proprietary and open source software solutions to the public sector. Government procurement decisions will be based on the ability of the solutions to deliver effective and economic systems and services.
I am pleased to announce new policy on the use of open source software within UK Government. It explains how we will consider open source software solutions alongside proprietary ones in IT procurements and award contracts on a value for money basis, seeking to avoid lock-in to proprietary IT products and services. In addition, the UK Government will consider obtaining full rights to bespoke software code or customisations of COTS (Commercial Off the Shelf) software it procures, wherever this achieves best value for money. It will also explore further the possibilities of using OSS as the default exploitation route for Government-funded R&D software.
The open source software policy has been formulated for use within UK Government because we seek to embrace the fast moving pace of the software industry and to acknowledge the clear potential for open source software to change the software infrastructure marketplace. It also serves as an appropriate response to the recent European Commission's Action Plan for the initiative eEurope—an information society for all. UK Government, in joining with its European partners to explore the availability of open source software solutions, will seek to realise the significant potential for cost-savings in the future and to achieve an increased flexibility in the development, enhancement and integration of our IT systems.