Government bodies must now comply with Open Standard Principles for IT, minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude has announced.
The Open Standard Principles are an agreed set of standards designed to make government IT more open, cheaper and better connected. They were developed following a public consultation, which took place earlier this year.
The government claims that the principles will enable it to deliver more innovative IT services across Whitehall, in addition to cutting costs and allowing more competition for government IT contracts.
"We know that there are more real savings to be made in Government IT contracts - in the first half of this year, we have already saved £409 million on ICT services," said Maude.
"Government must be better connected to the people it serves and partners who can work with it - especially small businesses, voluntary and community organisations. Having open information and software that can be used across government departments will result in lower licensing costs in government IT, and reduce the cost of lock-in to suppliers and products," he continued.
He added: "It is only right that we are encouraging competition and creating a level playing field for all companies to ensure we are getting the best price for the taxpayer."
The open standards consultation ran from February to June this year, which saw the Cabinet Office receive 480 responses. The consultation period was extended for a month following allegations of bias after an ‘independent facilitator' was also found to be advising Microsoft at the same time.