§ Mr. Battle
[holding answer 26 February 2001]: The following IT projects are currently underway:
FirecrestWe are continuing the deployment of Windows-based Office Automation to all FCO Posts and Departments. The expected completion date is spring 2002. The total cost is £80 million.
FTNThe provision of a global data and voice network, through a 10-year PFI contract to spring 2010. The roll out is due for completion in spring 2002. The contract value is £165 million.
PrismThe change programme to deliver improved management of finances and staff resources, through new integrated personnel, finance, payroll and procurement processes. The expected completion date is autumn 2003. We are currently in the procurement phase—financial information is therefore commercially sensitive.
Internet projectThe aim is to provide a new UK portal website, and kiosks overseas, linked to the portal, and upgraded FCO site and Posts' websites. The expected completion date is spring 2003. The present contract value is £6.4 million. There is support from our Capital Modernisation Fund towards full project costs up to £12 million.
Entry Clearance systemThis is to provide a standard entry clearance management system at all entry clearance Posts. We expect this to be completed by autumn 2001. The estimated cost is £1.4 million.
Digital Passports systemProviding the 12 busiest passport-issuing Posts with machine readable passport equipment and software to enable the production of digital passports. The estimated completion date is summer 2001, at a cost of £2.8 million.
Global Consular Database systemProviding a global database to meet the rising demand for improved consular services to the public. We expect to complete this by summer 2002. We are currently at the procurement phase—financial information is therefore commercially sensitive.
§ Mr. Battle
[holding answer 26 February 2001]: The following projects are being planned:
Confidential Firecrest176WA confidential version of the FCO's Windows Office system. Starting Spring 2001. Completion planned end 2002.
High-classification networksA separate network to handle material classified higher than Confidential, where possible making appropriate use of the FCO's FIRECREST/FTN infrastructure. Starting Summer 2001. Completion anticipated Spring 2002.
Firecrest future optionsTechnology refresh and new support arrangements for the FCO's Window Office system. Detailed project planning starting Spring 2002. Contract anticipated from late 2001-early 2003.
Entry Clearance ModernisationThe Joint Entry Clearance Unit has applied for Capital Modernisation Funding for the modernisation of entry clearance at Posts and links to the Home Office's systems. Completion anticipated in 2004.
Visa Warnings IndexThe current warnings index system at overseas Posts is reaching the end of its supportable life. Options are being explored. Starting Spring 2001. Completion spring 2002.
Digital PassportsThe delivery of digital passport systems to other passport issuing Posts, beyond the top 12 which are being equipped by an existing project. Beginning Summer 2001. Completion Summer 2004.
Consular Contact CentreAn out-of-hours contact facility for British nationals overseas. No firm time-scales yet.
No firm commitment has been made by the FCO to proceed with the above projects yet. Timings represent current projections only.