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Andrew Katz appointed to advise on council code sharing project

Andrew Katz, CEO and Head of Tech and IP at Moorcrofts has been appointed to advise on the licensing of an MHCLG funded project to help councils share code and data using Drupal.

The councils involved include: Croydon, Brighton and Hove, Bracknell Forest and Oxford City. Representatives from each of the four councils convened last week to kickstart the discovery project to understand how Drupal 8 sharing could work between the group of local councils. The project will last 6 weeks and will thrash out the challenges and opportunities the software provides to share code and data between the councils.

Along with Moorcrofts Andrew Katz, providing legal, Open Source and IP advice, the team is also supported by research and product specialists, DXW and Drupal 8 experts, Agile Collective.

The project is broken down into three sprints. The first sprint includes three aims:

  • Talk to the 8 councils who’ve either joined or expressed an interest, to understand the opportunities and challenges they face. They’re pretty representative of councils as a whole, with a mix of unitarises and districts. There’s also a variety of attitudes to building vs buying, agile, open source and so on.
  • get under the bonnet of the Brighton & Hove and Croydon Drupal coding and theme work to understand how easy (or not) it is to share more widely. Also better understand the skill level needed by future councils to take part – do you need to click a few buttons for example, or be able to delve into code?
  • Andrew Katz is summarising code sharing projects from around the world to provide a better understanding of what’s worked and not.

Sprints 2 and 3

What is done next depends to an extent on Sprint 1, but an idea of the things which need completing the discovery work include:

  • Data on councils’ CMS usage and upgrade plans, their digital maturity and technical capability
  • Conversations with councils outside the immediate group. If you’re interested in the project, or sharing in general, please get in touch
  • MHCLG’s deliverables: user research findings, benefits case, recommendations for next steps
  • A proposition to take into Alpha. Answers to questions like: What’s being shared and how? Is there a club to join? If so, how are decisions made? How does a council leave?

Andrew Katz, said: “All sectors now appreciate the benefits of open source. Open source code reduces cost, including whole-lifecycle and the dangers of lock-in, and increases the quality and speed of deployment of code. It’s great to be working with a team dedicated to making this work from a practical perspective, identifying the real-world issues, and delivering practical results”.

Andrew Katz, has over 25 years’ experience as a technology lawyer. He joined Moorcrofts in March 2000, shortly after the firm was founded. He is now CEO and Head of Tech and IP. He handles cloud computing and project agreements, including complex data protection issues, and has recently been involved in the rapidly expanding fields of open data and open hardware. He is one of the UK’s leading free and open-source lawyers, and has lectured on open issues globally and has co-authored papers whose findings have been adopted into Swedish government policy. He has recently been named on the OpenUK Board and a named expert in the bid secured by OpenForum Europe and Fraunhofer ISI to conduct the study on the impact of Open Source Software and Hardware on technological independence, competitiveness and innovation in the EU economy.