Government Interoperability Framework - e-GIF

The e-GIF specifications are mandated on all new systems. Our e-GIF compliance questionnaire is available in here.

The e-GIF covers our communication with the general public, not just communication within government or between applications. It aids the exchange of information between government systems and the interactions between:

  • UK Government and citizens
  • UK Government and intermediaries
  • UK Government and businesses (worldwide)
  • UK Government organisations
  • UK Government and other governments (UK/EC, UK/US, etc.).

The e-GIF policies aim to ensure accessibility of e-Government services. 'Accessibility' is used in two senses; firstly, in terms of maximising the range of device types that may be used to access information, and secondly in terms of minimising the risk of exclusion of segments of society. Web standards are used to maximise accessibility in the technological sense. Minimising the risk of exclusion is in part a technology issue, but also a matter of design and planning.

Adherence to open standards is key. Using formats beyond HTML, ECMA 262 Script and simple images (.gif, .jpg) should be limited to circumstances where it is otherwise not technically possible to deliver the full service desired. In such circumstances a reduced service that makes use of open standards should also be provided for less capable browsers. One cannot assume that Java will be available, or that there is sufficient bandwidth for audio, video or automation.

Where the e-GIF does permit the use of proprietary data formats, this is restricted to formats where plug-ins are freely available without licence charge. However one cannot assume that plug-ins are actually available. If an attempt is made to restrict the choice of device that can be used this runs the risk of exclusion, counter to the aims of the e-GIF, or UK or European law. There is a need for separate design for different devices due to differing screen capabilities and input ergonomics.

The e-GIF specifies XML for data integration and XSLT for data transformation. It is not intended to imply that XML and an XSLT stylesheet should be delivered to an Internet browser for local presentation to a user.


At the highest level complying with the e-GIF means:

  • Providing a browser interface for access
  • A website is fully usable with both Netscape Navigator (v4 and above) and Microsoft Internet Explorer (v5 and above)
  • A website is fully usable with at least Microsoft Windows and Macintosh platforms
  • Using XML as the primary means for data integration
  • Hypertext is written according to W3C HTML v4.01 specification
  • XHTML complies with the W3C v1.0 specification
  • Character sets and alphabets are confined to UNICODE, ISO/IEC 10646-1:2000, UTF-16
  • JavaScript is written as ECMA 262 Script (implementations of JavaScript vary from browser to browser, so care in use is needed to support the maximum range of browsers)
  • Alternative facilities are available for less capable browsers
  • Basic quality graphical images are presented in .jpg or .gif format
  • Adobe Acrobat (using .pdf extension) has a minimum reader/viewer compatibility with version 4. (Adobe Acrobat Reader v.5 can read v.4 and v.6 documents)
  • Using Internet and World Wide Web
  • Using metadata for content management.


Metadata used to comply with the e-GMS and meet search engine needs

The e-GIF mandates the use of the e-GMS. This is based on Dublin Core and other existing standards. We use the following tags

  • meta http-equiv="Content-Type
  • DC.Identifier
  • DC.Creator
  • DC.Publisher
  • DC.Rights.copyright
  • DC.Title
  • DC.Description
  • DC.Language
  • DC.Date.created
  • DC.type
  • DC.Format
  • DC.coverage
  • eGMS.subject.category
  • eGMS.accessibility
  • meta name="Keywords"
  • meta name="Description"
  • meta name="robots"
  • meta name="Resource-type"
  • meta name="Copyright"
  • meta http-equiv="pics-label"