HC Deb 19 October 1999 vol 336 cc549-50W
Mr. David Atkinson

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food 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. [93571]

Mr. Morley

Details of the Ministry's progress in tackling the millennium bug are set out in our quarterly monitoring returns. These are available in the Libraries of the House and are published on the Internet. The results of the October monthly review of progress of Departments and agencies are due to be announced shortly by the President of the Council.

Work on ensuring that all of the Ministry's internal systems are millennium ready has been completed, for both critical and non-critical systems. Testing will be ongoing to ensure that compliance is maintained. As indicated in the July quarterly Report to the House, work on IT and telecoms systems was completed earlier in the year. Work on embedded systems was not completed until September, in part because of the take-on of new buildings/systems.

Business continuity planning (including contingency planning) and development of MAFF's MOR will be completed this month. As part of our MOR we will be ensuring that contact is maintained with key players in the food industry throughout the millennium period.

With regard to the provision of related public services, millennium preparations in non-Departmental and other associated Public Bodies are being monitored and satisfactory progress is being maintained. Independent assessments of the preparedness of the food and groceries and flood defence sectors were reported to the July National Infrastructure Forum. Emerging results for the food and groceries sector indicated blue for internal compliance and amber for business continuity planning, using Action 2000's colour coding system. The flood defence sector was assessed as 95 per cent. blue and 5 per cent. amber. The latest results of the independent assessments of these sectors (including continency planning) will be announced at the next National Infrastructure Forum on 21 October.