The New Zealand Government’s open source software licensing consultation has been a smashing success, with the process remaining open and transparent, according to Paul Stone, Land Information NZ programme leader Open Government Data.
The consultation considered proposals for consistent policy and guidelines that would extend the NZ Government Open Access and Licensing (NZGOAL) framework to cover open source software as well as government content and data.
“The consultation differed from the usual submission process in that it was undertaken through online conversations where ideas could be considered, questions could be raised and consensus was much easier to reach,” Stone says.
The online forum was powered by Loomio, an open source online discussion and consensus building application developed by the Wellington social enterprise incubator, Enspiral.
“The tool has been hugely useful in giving a read of opinion. Because of the two-way conversations, it enables open dialogue to take place and it made it much easier to identify a consensus,” says Stone.
“We’ve had a great response with more than 30 people at senior levels in the information technology community actively participating. This would have been impossible to achieve under a more conventional approach.
“Many more people are watching the discussions to see how they unfold. The whole consultation has been very much in the spirit of open source, where people collaborate to produce an outcome that benefits everyone,” he says.
During May, the policy document will be revised transparently on the social collaboration platform, GitHub. This approach has been used successfully overseas for government ICT guidance co-creation; for example the US Digital Services Playbook.
The online conversations that have taken place during the public consultation will inform this revision. There will be a final opportunity for people to comment on the final draft.