HC Deb 20 April 2004 vol 420 c474W
Bob Spink

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to update computer(a) hardware and (b) software standard packages used in his Department. [166373]

Stephen Twigg

We have no plans this year to make major replacements or upgrades to the Department's hardware base which is perfectly adequate for the current level of IT in use. Over the near to medium term, we expect the percentage of laptops in use by Departmental staff to increase as remote working facilities improve and the Department encourages increased flexibility of working patterns and closer working relationships across the education sector.

The Department used predominantly Microsoft technology for its PC and back-office systems supplemented by "best of breed" technology for specific business critical activities. We have no plans to proactively update either our PC or server software this year although we do plan to introduce an improved email system (based on Microsoft's Exchange 2003), an integrated Human Resource and Payroll system, a Department-level accounting system and an Electronic Document and Records Management System (EDRMS) which will help us make better informed policy and allow us to respond positively to the Freedom of Information Act.