§ Brian White
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what progress his Department has made to manage the changeover from the Bank Automated Clearing System to the new BACSTEL-IP system for electronic payments. 
§ Mr. Stephen Twigg
The Department for Education and Skills recognise that we must upgrade to BACSTEL-IP well before the December 2005 deadline. We are in the process of upgrading our central finance system, with an expected "go live" date of 5 July 2004. The BACSTEL-IP upgrade was excluded from the scope of that project as we did not want to introduce unnecessary additional risk. It will, however, be taken forward with Barron McCann (our current BACS software provider) as a priority upgrade towards the end of this calendar year.