In my search for reference material for a proposal to the NZ Govt I came across this webinar series from the European Opensource and Free Software Law Event (EOLE). A couple of sessions have already run but there are three to go so with the next one being Opensource governance in the public sector... heady stuff!
The other topics to be covered are 'open source and open science' and 'tools for public administrators'. The ones that have already run are 'Public sector collaboration around FOSS' and the first one 'Free software acquisition by public administration'... and it is this one that has perversely cheered me up immensely as it describes a situation that we are all familiar with.
Recently the NZOSS submitted a response to MBIE around extending the Govt. Procurement rules to all government entities... including schools, local and regional councils and all sorts of other institutions. The NZOSS recommendation was not to do this in part due to the overheads but also because of the abuse of one particular supplier contract, the MCSSA, that appeared to be being used to bypass the very procurement rules that were supposed to give New Zealand businesses an even chance of getting Govt. contracts.
Well it seems that the same provisions apply in Italy according to the webinar. They too have procurement guidelines that ask that open source solutions be considered and that any purchase decision must be economically justified... but it turns out that these guidelines are routinely ignored by the public service, just as they seem to be here. It was also pointed out that one public servant (an 'Innovation Manager') is in fact a Microsoft employee currently on sabbatical... we don't quite have that here but we do have a deputy Chief Executive in the Ministry of Health who is an ex-Microsoft employee who was their public sector manager and was responsible for negotiating the aforementioned MCSSA.