HC Deb 11 July 1996 vol 281 c284W
Mr. French

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he has completed the actions arising from the review of the Simpler Trade Procedures Board; and if he will make a statement. [37305]

Mr. Nelson

I am pleased to report that, since my answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Spring) on 19 July 1995, Official Report, column 1545, the United Kingdom Confederation for Electronic Data Interchange Standards—UKCEDIS—assumed responsibility for the United Kingdom input to international electronic data interchange standards with effect from 1 January 1996. On the same date, SITPRO's EDI standards development functions were transferred to the Electronic Commerce Association—ECA—formerly called the Electronic Data Interchange Association. The former SITPRO staff concerned joined the ECA and are undertaking EDI standards development agreed in the UKCEDIS workplan. The transfer is being supported by the Department with funding on a tapering basis.

An advertisement for the sale of the SITPRO software business was issued on 26 September 1995. Kewill Systems plc was selected as preferred bidder on 19 February 1996 following an evaluation of shortlisted bidders. This demonstrated that its bid met my Department's objectives of the sale to secure best value for money while minimising any adverse impact on existing customers and the distributor network. The Government completed the sale of SITPRO's software business to Kewill Systems plc on 28 June for a consideration of £359,000 including net assets. The 11 staff in the software business project transferred to the purchaser.