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OCDS 1.2: What we’ll be working on

Two weeks ago, we kicked off development of the next minor release of the Open Contracting Data Standard, OCDS 1.2, and we explained what kinds of issues can be resolved in a minor release.

In this blog post, we’ll go into more detail on the priorities for OCDS 1.2.

Thematic priorities

All existing issues that can be resolved in a minor release have been collected into a milestone, and have been organized into themes on this board.

In our last update, we identified the major themes. We’ll expand on those here.

Semantic issues

Many terms in OCDS are defined from the perspective of single-stage procurement procedures. However, OCDS is intended to support two-stage procurement procedures, as well as other processes like design contests, public-private partnerships, and so on. The definitions need to be refined so that their meaning is clear in different contexts.

Notably, we will look at a few fundamental terms:

Another major area of work is to compare OCDS’ definitions against others’ definitions, including:

Adding fields

There are several concepts to consider adding to OCDS that are common to multiple jurisdictions. These include new fields for:

Some broader issues include:

Finally, there are a few codes to consider deprecating, due to their being unclear or insufficiently distinct.

Packaging formats

With each version of OCDS, we consider how to make OCDS data easier to publish and use. The way in which OCDS data is packaged has been a common source of challenges and confusion, as we’ve learned from support requests to the OCDS Helpdesk and through our training program.

In OCDS 1.2, the following steps are being considered to simplify packages:

Other issues

OCDS data is checked for structural errors using schema files. We are considering a ‘strict’ version of the schema files, to allow publishers to opt-in to new checks, and thereby improve their data quality.

Extensions allow publishers to disclose more data than is covered by OCDS. The bids, enquiries, location, lots and participation fees extensions are versioned along with OCDS, and many specific changes to these extensions are being considered.

Finally, there are several issues for which we especially need further discussion, to better understand the specific issues and to assess support for different proposals, including:

How to contribute?

This marks the second step of the governance process, initiating a two-week period in which anyone can discuss whether to include issues that were left out, or remove issues that were added in, by 11 November.

The next step will be to solicit input on and propose solutions for the prioritized issues. To contribute to any of the topics listed above, please follow the hyperlinks to comment on the GitHub issue. We need expert input from the community of OCDS publishers and users to ensure that the proposed changes will improve the OCDS for everyone.

If you are new to GitHub, you can watch a recording of our introduction to GitHub, review the slides, use this handout, or read GitHub’s own documentation to create a username and password to add your comments and suggestions.

Over the coming months, we will organize calls to share progress and solicit input. To get updates throughout the OCDS 1.2 process, please subscribe to the standard-discuss mailing list.