After the twitter feed of UK Gov ICT contracts emerged from the recent LinkedGov hackday I’ve been subscribed to searches for open source and linux.

Now, aside from the useless daily email of ‘no results found’, the contracts finder does throw up some interesting things, like this procurement note from West Sussex Country Council for information technology services, Official EU reference: 31260-2011.

This procurement note is for a schools management information system. What’s interesting about it, as that it is an announcement of an ‘Award of a contract without prior publication of a contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union’ under SECTION IV: PROCEDURE IV.1) TYPE OF PROCEDURE IV.1.1) Type of procedure

Reason: the “services provided under the existing arrangements cannot be undertaken by other parties. The solution is the Intellectual Property of Capita Children’s Services and they have not granted licenses to third parties to amend and enhance these MIS products (such as in an open source arrangement), this means that Capita Children’s Services are the only people with the necessary rights to maintain their product suite.”

The value of the contract awarded is £407,500 GBP. Not small beer then. Multiplied that by each County Council with statutory education provision duties… and the beer gets more bigger.

All the Craptia system, called SIMS, does is provide a few data capture forms and some analytics. I know from experience that the system has many weaknesses and that it does not play well with other systems.

There are plenty of opensource ERP/MIS systems out there … with a bit customisation and some add-ons of interoperability, could this marketplace be disrupted by open source practices? I think so.

Anyway… back to healthcare