§ Ms Hewitt
In 1998 my Department HQ entered into a Private Finance Initiative partnership with a consortium led by ICL (now Fujitsu) in conjunction with CMG, known as UNITAS. This arrangement included the transfer of ownership of the vast majority of our computer assets to UNITAS and part of the contractual arrangements in place are that the responsibility for replacing equipment and its disposal when this is necessary lies with them. Part of our normal monthly service charge paid for the provision of our computers includes an element to meet any costs incurred by UNITAS in carrying out this disposal service.
Where equipment becomes surplus to requirement UNITAS always tries to re-cycle it and, accordingly, the number of PCs disposed of by UNITAS in the last three years has been negligible. Their environmental policy also dictates that any disposals are done in an environmentally friendly manner and appropriate security measures are applied to ensure hard discs are always erased before disposal. Where disposal is necessary UNITAS use a company known as STARS.
I understand that this question has also been put to the Minister for the Cabinet Office and that the answer to that question will include any replacement and disposal details for DTI staff working in Government Offices in the regions.