Annual Report and Accounts 2000-01


OFFICE REPORTS

Computer Office
(Computer Officer: Joe O'Meara)

1  Purpose

The Office provides the necessary support and expertise to enable the House, its members and staff to take full advantage of information technology in discharging their functions. The Office supports the development of strategic approaches to allow full exploitation of technological advances.

2  Organisation

The Computer Office has a staff of 9: a Computer Officer, a Deputy Computer Officer (also in charge of Computer Developments), a Computer Training and Support Manager, 4 Executive Officers (for Lords and staff training and for computer support), a Computer Assistant and a Helpline Operator who also provides secretarial support to the Computer Officer. Four staff changes occurred during the year.

3  Activities and Financial Performance

The year saw increased collaboration with the House of Commons in the development of an Information Systems Strategy and the redesign of the Parliamentary Website.

Demand for connection to the Parliamentary Data and Video Network (PDVN) has remained high and 110 new PCs were loaned to Members, of which 56 were replacements for old models and 54 were for new users, 29 of whom were new Members of the House. 197 individual training sessions were conducted with Members. The number of calls for support during the year increased from 584 in 1999 to 2,500 in 2000. The range of training was increased (see Part 1, paragraph 55).

Projects undertaken during the year included the introduction of:

  • Digital recording of the proceedings of the House to assist in the production of the Official Report.

  • A system to improve the efficiency of capturing information on voting by scanning Division sheets.

  • New accounting software, an Electronic Point Of Sale (EPOS) system and a system to assist with the management of the banqueting facilities for the Refreshment Department.

  • A system for the Parliamentary Archives; and the Registry database was transferred to a dedicated fileserver.

Budget provision for 2000-01 was £1,361,000 (£1,320,000 in 1999-2000) and out-turn expenditure £1,509,104 (£1,319,493 in 1999-2000). The over-spend was largely due to expenditure on computer equipment for Members which amounted to £311,914, exceeding the budgeted amount by almost £200,000 (see Part 1, paragraph 55), and to an increase in the staff complement following a review. The overspend was reduced by economies in computer equipment and by a smaller than expected contribution to the Parliamentary Communications Directorate (PCD).

4  Future Activities

  • The review of the Service Agreement with the PCD will be completed, incorporating new developments and addressing deficiencies, such as hours of operation.

  • Active involvement in the migration to Windows 2000 Operating Systems.

  • The move to Millbank House in August 2001. Separation from the Palace of Westminster will be balanced by improved facilities for training and maintenance work.

  • Additional training courses will be made available. A computer based training system will be made available through the Internet which will allow Members and staff to undertake training courses from their desks.



 
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