§ Mr. Atkinson
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement of progress on the introduction of information technologies to facilitate internal communications in his Department and the provision of information 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. Forth
As part of the Department's agreed IT strategy a number of developments are taking place which will facilitate internal communications in the Department. These includea programme, now virtually complete, to replace aging telephone exchanges with modern digital equipment; an electronic mail pilot currently serving 1,000 staff;a data communications network linking some 2,000 computer terminals to central computers;increasing use of FAX, with machines being installed at the rate of one a week.Future plans include the use of videoconference facilities and public access to DTI databases containing company and export information, security and data protection withstanding.