HC Deb 28 February 2001 vol 363 cc652-5W
Mr. Field

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list the IT projects his Department plans to undertake in the next year; and if he will state in each case the(a) expected date of commencement and completion and (b) cost. [151476]

Mr. Wills

[holding answer 26 February 2001]: The major information technology projects to be started in the next year are listed in the table.

requirements of the new agency. This will occur over the coming months.

Mr. Field

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list the IT projects currently undertaken in his Department; and if he will state the(a) expected completion date and (b) cost of each project. [151502]

Mr. Wills

[holding answer 26 February 2001]: The major information technology-enabled projects currently being undertaken by the Department are listed in the following table.

Project Description End date Estimated cost (£)
Connexions card project To deliver a multi-functional smart card to young people in further learning, which carries discounts and rewards to encourage their participation and attainment. The project includes an underpinning database driven careers and course website Autumn 2001 6.5 million
Worktrain To develop an internet portal to job vacancies, careers, work-related learning and training opportunities Comprehensive service available in 2001 3.2 million
Individual Learning Accounts This includes: May 2005 (end of contract) 50 million
The implementation of policy for individual learning accounts;
The creation of a national framework for the administration of individual learning accounts;
The marketing and other promotional activity to support and increase take up;
Continued development of ILA policy within the framework of funding for adult learners and wider policy developments
The development of a partnership between DfEE and Capita;
Ensuring consistency between the arrangements in England and the devolved administrations
Learning and Skills Council Information and Business System Project To define, build and deliver the information systems and processes necessary to support the Learning and Skills Council August 2002 38 million
Computers Within Reach Scheme to give subsidised recycled PCs to low income families and earners March 2001 (end of contract) 15 million
Wired up communities To connect homes in a number of deprived communities to the internet and email and to test the impact which this might have to education and employability February 2002 (end of contract) 10 million
Grid Club The creation of a fun learning site for children aged 7 to 11. It will help them learn through communicating and participating in joint activities and through improving their IT skills March 2004 (end of contract) 6 million
Learn Direct Telephone help line and website run by the University for industry providing information and advice to adults Ongoing 10 million
Virtual College of School Leadership A portal that provides the virtual arm of the National College for School Leadership. The NCSL has been launched to provide leadership and development to the School leadership group. It will deliver both face-to-face programmes, including the existing headship training programmes, as well as online development and networking opportunities May 2003 (end of contract) 2 million
Other departmental systems
European Social Fund Adapting systems to deliver ESF in accordance with revised payment methodology and business process March 2001 1.2 million
Sure Start IT System Sure Start is a cross-departmental initiative aimed at improving local service available to families and young children in disadvantages areas Mid 2001 1 million
Overseas Labour Service To introduce a series of enhancements including the introduction of emailed applications for work permits March 2002 650,000
New Student Support System A project to allow students to access an initial application form for financial support electronically Database and application form available in 2001 550,000

Project Description End date Estimated cost (£)
Special Education Needs Tribunals System Re-write Re-write of the system to meet new tribunal regulations which will result in a fundamental change to the way that appeals are managed March 2001 500,000
Voluntary Aided Schools Information System (VASIS) Phase 2 Enhancement to the VASIS system which will provide the capability to receive and approve grant claims electronically and provide on-line access to schools and LEAs September 2001 350,000
GTC Database (Releases 3–5) Further releases which will provide for the collection of key data on teachers and fee collection March 2001 300,000
Standards Fund System Development of the existing system to enable LEAs to make electronic claims against the Standards Fund March 2001 250,000
Publications Database (Phase 2) Enhancements, which will improve our ability to monitor progress against targets September 2001 150,000
Neighbourhood Support Fund Database System required to monitor and evaluate the performance of NSF projects and Managing Agents in delivering the Programme February 2001 150,000
DfEE Correspondence Handling System The development and implementation of a computerized system for managing the Department's wide ranging correspondence in order to improve on its performance targets as per the Whitehall Standards 2.5 million
DfEE Infrastructure upgrades Replacement of PCs, fileservers and software March 2001 4 million

Employment Services

The Employment Service's modernisation programme has made remarkable achievements in less than 12 months. The ES now has a modern IT infrastructure in its 1,000 Jobcentres. A national jobs database has been created with around 400,000 vacancies. That database is available to anyone with internet access through the Employment Service website.

Job points have been installed in 12 Jobcentres. Job points are state-of-the-art touch-screen kiosks through which Jobcentre customers can search the national database. Early indications from these pilots are that job points are popular and successful and it is intended that they will be rolled out nationally to all Jobcentres from March this year.

The Employment Service is also establishing a network of 11 customer services centres to take vacancies from employers through a single telephone number, by fax or by e-mail. They will provide employers with 24-hour electronic access to Jobcentre recruitment services. This new service is expected to come on line in the next few months.

The Employment Service is also managing the transfer of Work Based Learning for Adults in April 2001 from the TECs and this will result in the implementation of a new contracting and funding system in April 2001 which will encourage closer working with ES' s programme providers.

These achievements have been part of a fully integrated programme of change valued at some £816 million, which has already seen a vast improvement in the way ES conducts its business.