§ Mr. Atkinson
To ask the Minister for the Civil Service if he will make a statement of progress on the introduction of information technologies to facilitate internal communications in his office, and the provision of information 325W to the public concerning those areas for which he is responsible; and if he has any further plans to apply the newest technologies in these fields.
§ Mr. Luce
The introduction of information technology (IT) in the Office of the Minister for the Civil Service (OMCS) is subject to an IT strategy. This includes a directive that installed IT equipment should be capable of attachment to a local area network (LAN), with the objectives of improving internal communications and information management.
LANs have been installed in five buildings, the largest of which now has about 100 connected computers. My office and the press office are on this LAN.
The press office was one of the first contributors to the recently announced Central Office of Information news distribution service, which is designed to speed the provision of information to the news media. The OMCS deals mainly with other Government Departments and public bodies. It has few direct dealings with the public.
Future plans include the provision of communications between LANs, better information retrieval using the latest indexing software, and desk-top publishing.