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LOTI floats API requirement for technology tenders


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The London Office of Technology and Innovation (LOTI) has put out a call for feedback on a draft tender requirement for API access and data extracts in local government technology procurement.

It has come as part of its work in aiming to improve councils’ performance in the field, and in response to a wide sense of frustration that legacy suppliers of digital systems are often reluctant to provide APIs or will only do so at a high cost.

The move also reflects LOTI’s adherence to the procurement checklist developed by the Local Gov Digital Group, on which the need for services to have an open API is one of the prime elements. LOTI’s director Eddie Copeland told UKAuthority its member boroughs recently agreed that this is pivotal to almost everything they do.

The draft tender requirement has been made available as a Google doc with the scope for viewers to suggest amendments in the wording.

Significant terms

It includes several points on the provision of APIs, including that all significant business functions should be available through one, able to support time based extracts, and that any data submitted by a user operating the system should also be posted via an API. In addition, suppliers should not unreasonably omit or refuse to include them, and they should come at no additional charge.

On data extraction, it says a council will have the right to recover any data entered into a system at no additional cost, and that a supplier must surrender, delete or return it at any time, again with no extra cost.

There is also a section on limitations on how the supplier can use any data.

Copeland said that LOTI plans to urge its member boroughs in London, and any others, to adopt the draft when it is satisfied with the wording, which it expects to be soon.

He added that the organisation would welcome feedback from suppliers.

Image from iStock

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