(Computer Officer: Joe O'Meara)
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.
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
- 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.