§ Mr. David Atkinson
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement of progress on the millennium readiness of his Department's computer systems, and those for which it is responsible in the provision of public services; if contingency plans are in place; and what slippage has occurred since the July Quarterly report to the House. 
§ Mr. Hill
Details of the Department's progress in tackling the bug are set out in our regular monitoring returns. These are available in the Libraries of the House and published on the Internet.
The President of the Council wrote to all Members on 23 September 1999 with details of the latest position. That confirmed that, with two exceptions, all the business critical systems of DETR(C) and the other DETR Agencies were expected to be complete by the end of October at the latest.
The exceptions were:
- (a) The Planning Inspectorate which is on course to confirm that a business critical IT system to produce 400 standard letters will be millennium compliant in November. In the unlikely event of a delay in installing the system, the Agency is confident that it would still be able to maintain its current level and standard of service to customers.
- (b) The Rent Agency, created on 1 October 1999, which is currently establishing the compliance of the embedded systems in the rent offices previously managed by local authorities. The Agency is aware that local authorities have been actively dealing with these embedded systems, and is confident that they will be fully compliant by December 1999.
The results of the October review, due to be announced shortly by the President of the Council, are expected to confirm that, with the exception of the above two Agencies, the Department's business critical systems and most of its non-critical systems will be millennium compliant by the end of the month.
Turning to progress in devising contingency plans, DETR(C) and its Agencies are on course to complete and test these plans by the end of this month.
As regards the millennium readiness of public services for which the Department has oversight, the results of the latest independent assessment of the water, transport, and local government sectors will be announced at the National Infrastructure Forum on 20-21 October 1999. It is expected that all these sectors will report that the independent assessments have not identified any risk of material disruption to the infrastructure.