HC Deb 22 February 1999 vol 326 cc165-6W
Mr. Cousins

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are the objectives of(a) the accord project and (b) the assist computerisation project; on what date the final decision was taken to implement the project;

Review Cost Reports
Review of the major components of the Social Security system Costs are subsumed within the Department's ordinary running costs. Green paper; "New Ambitions for Our Country: A new contract for welfare", published 26 March 1998. Decisions on support for disabled people, bereavement benefits and a single work-focused gateway to the benefits system for working age people will be taken forward in the Welfare Reform and Pensions Bill. Further announcements in due course.

what was the expenditure on each project; and if he will list the remaining implementation milestones to completion. [71781]

Mr. Timms

The Access to Corporate Data (ACCORD) Procurement project was established to provide the Department with long term supply options to take forward the delivery of the new generation of Information Systems/Information Technology (IS/IT) needed to underpin the modernisation of the Welfare State. The procurement set out to establish Private Finance Initiative/Private Public Partnership arrangements with suitable service providers.

The announcement of the selected service providers (AFFINITY, ARCWAY and 1ACCORD) to take this work forward on behalf of the Department was made on 5 November 1998, Official Report, column 646. Specific business allocations will be made to the service providers under the provision of an overarching IS/IT Services Agreement. Milestones for these individual projects will then be defined as part of the projects management activity.

The ACCORD Procurement Project team has, since its inception in 1996, cost in the order of £3.8 million. No payments have yet been made to any service provider as a result of the procurement project. Expenditure commitments will be linked to the business allocations made under the IS/IT Services Agreement.

The ASSIST (Analytical Services Statistical Information System) Project was established to produce a comprehensive statistical package to support statisticians and policy makers within the Department, with final approval for the implementation of the system given on 9 February 1998. The final milestone will be the roll out of the Data Repository to users in the Departments Analytical Services Division from 5 April 1999. Total expenditure from April 1995 to the end of the financial year 1998–99 is expected to be £6.2 million.