HC Deb 19 October 1999 vol 336 cc434-5W
Mr. David Atkinson

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department 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. [93564]

Mr. Straw

Details of the Home Office and its agencies' progress in tackling the bug are set out in our quarterly monitoring returns. These are available in the Library and are published on the Internet.

In the latest published return, up to the end of August, out of 28 business critical Information Technology systems in the Home Office and its Agencies, 25 had been declared Year 2000 compliant. The remaining three systems completed their work during September. In the Home Office all Business Critical systems (Information Technology, Telecommunications and Embedded Systems) have now completed their Year 2000 work.

My department will complete work on all non-critical systems slightly later. 86 per cent. of non-critical Information Technology systems are complete, with full completion due during November. 80 per cent. of all non-critical embedded systems are compliant, with all work due to complete during December. Non-critical telecommunications work is scheduled to finish during this month. It should be noted that none of these non-critical systems affect the key services provided by my Department.

In Home Office Agencies, with the exception of one building management system, whose functions can be performed manually, all non-critical systems are compliant.

The results of the October monthly review of progress of Government departments and agencies in tackling the bug are to be announced shortly by the President of the Council.

The Home Office has policy responsibility for the police, fire, prison and probation services, the Police Information Technology Organisation and the Forensic Science Service. The results of the latest independent assessment of these sectors will be announced at the National Infrastructure Forum (NIF) on 21 October. This will show that good progress has been made since the previous NIF on 13 July, with all areas expected to report a Blue grading, meaning no material disruption is expected.

All key services provided by the Home Office will have business continuity plans in place by the end of October. 16 of the 19 services have already completed this work. My Department's Millennium Operating Regime will be completed by the end of this month and will be effective from November 1999.

Two Home Office business critical systems reported minor slippage during August, although these have since been declared compliant. The Forensic Science Service also reported that embedded systems at one site were not yet compliant. Negotiations are continuing with the landlords and the necessary compliance work is expected to be completed shortly.

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