HC Deb 28 May 2004 vol 422 cc190-1W
Mr. Flight

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how often his Department and its agencies undergo portable appliance testing of IT equipment; and what the cost was in each of the last five years. [175711]

Fiona Mactaggart

[holding answer 26 May 2004]:Under the IT 2000 Services Agreement the core-Home Office obtains a full range of IT services from Fujitsu Alcedo Ltd (operating as 'Sirius'). Similarly, each of the Department's agencies have an agreement with their IT service providers. Under the terms of these Agreements, all of the IT equipment used to provide these services to the Home Office and its agencies is supported and maintained by the various IT service suppliers.

As an example, the IT 2000 Agreement obliges Sirius to advise the Home Office on the frequency of electrical safety testing of portable IT equipment. Sirius's advice is that visual inspection at the time of first installation, reassessment via visual inspection at three year intervals and "combined inspection and test" (i.e. PAT testing) at five year intervals provides the appropriate assurance. However, Sirius are committed to a programme of Technology Refresh leading to the replacement of their equipment before it is five years old. On this basis, formal PAT testing of Sirius's equipment is not required and no formal programme of PAT testing for IT equipment has been conducted since the IT 2000 Agreement was signed.

Any equipment not covered by the various IT Agreements is tested under the agreements held with the various Facility Management (FM) companies responsible for the maintenance of each of the buildings concerned. However, the FM companies are responsible for all electrical equipment not covered by the IT Service Agreements and so it is impossible to separate the IT equipment from the general office equipment.

Additionally and in conjunction with the initiative to relocate the Home Office's London headquarters to 2 Marsham Street, items of IT equipment that are outside the scope of the IT 2000 Agreement are currently being identified so that they can be moved, or disposed of, appropriately. The Home Office will take this opportunity to ensure that the inspection and testing of these items is suitably up to date.

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