HC Deb 18 November 1998 vol 319 cc615-6W
Mr. Chope

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the conclusions of Taskforce 2000 published on 11 November in respect of his Department's most recent quarterly return on plans and progress towards Year 2000 readiness. [60214]

Mr. Straw

My Department has carefully considered the Taskforce 2000 analysis. The majority of the concerns expressed can be traced to misinterpretation of published quarterly progress reports.

In particular, the analysis referred to changes to the Department's Year 2000 programme. The definition of what was a business critical system had been tightened to focus effort on those vital to the provision of key services. Agencies were reported on separately. Both changes were made in the spirit of openness, and with a view to improving programme management and visibility of key processes.

The increase in costs relates to the emergence of a clearer picture of the Year 2000 programme. The increase is not outside the range of what might be expected, given the nature of the task.

Taskforce 2000 was also concerned that end dates for some critical systems extended into 1999. The majority of these systems are expected to be Year 2000 compliant by March 1999. As a matter of prudence, the business processes concerned will be covered by contingency plans to ensure continuance of service.

The results of the next quarterly review will be announced shortly to the House and copies of the Home Office's latest quarterly return will be placed in the Library and published on the Internet.