Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Annex 1


  There are slightly different support arrangements at home and abroad.

  Overseas, spares for key components in the Post's desktop architecture are held on site in case of failure of PCs, printers, disc-drives etc. The systems administrator and (in some Posts) a resident technical specialist are responsible for replacing components when a fault is reported. Unless the faulty item can be easily repaired it is then either shipped back to the FCO or is examined and repaired by the local office of Compaq with whom the FCO has a world-wide support contract. Faults reported to the local systems administrator are recorded at our central support facility to ensure that the FCO support services are aware of any equipment failure trends. Stocks of spares at Posts are replenished as soon as possible.

  In the UK spares are held centrally, and are dispatched and installed by dedicated support staff once a fault reported to the helpdesk is diagnosed as requiring a replacement component.

  It is very rare for an FCO user at home or overseas to experience downtime of more than half a day as a result of failure of a desktop IT system. In most cases the user has a working system again with one to two hours of reporting the fault. Extension of FTN to Posts is also allowing us to explore new methods of remote support.

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