Consultation: Draft COE Discussion Paper

John Sheridan - CIO & CISO
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The Government’s agreement to the coordinated procurement of desktop hardware (the RFT of which is currently under evaluation) included a decision to pursue a whole of government Common Operating Environment (COE). We have been working with agencies on a discussion paper on this subject and we are now ready to share it more widely. We would welcome comments from interested parties so that we can use them to develop an effective and efficient way forward.

The COE is designed to establish principles and standards that will inform the development of government desktop environments. There are many benefits to be gained from this approach.  For instance, if you’re a developer you’ll have a known, standard environment to which to develop. From a government perspective, agencies will be able to share their solutions, security will be enhanced and there should be a reduction in both cost and delivery times. If you would like to read about a similar process in the USA, you can check out

If you’d like to know more, please review the attached COE Draft Discussion Paper (RTF, 1.85MB, and also available in HTML)and let us know what you think.

All comments and suggestions posted will be considered. If you’d prefer not to make your comments public, you can email our team at  My preference is that you post items directly; however, the choice is yours.

You will be able to comment for about three weeks. We’ll review the comments we receive and, where appropriate, include them in our final version.

In particular, we’re interested in your views on these matters:

  • Standards – we’re keen to get as much feedback on the standards as we can, including any additional things that should be included.
  • The concept of N-1 application management – does this work in practice, would it ensure that systems are updated appropriately?
  • How do you see virtualisation being used to support legacy applications? Can we create a standard when the market and technology is not mature and any form of standard now may lead to vendor lock in later?
  • Is the review cycle appropriate?
  • The future of application packaging - should application streaming be seen as the future of application delivery?

If you’ve been reading our earlier posts on procurement, you’ll know that this process doesn’t create an obligation on Finance to necessarily respond and that Finance reserves the right to publish or deal with any comments received in any way it wishes to. Finance also reserves the right to use, reproduce or disclose any comments provided including to meet government accountability or reporting requests or requirements.

I look forward to receiving your feedback.

John Sheridan
First Assistant Secretary Agency Services

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Last updated: 27 July 2016