Central government is making 'good progress' with its millennium bug fix, cabinet minister Margaret Beckett told the House of Commons yesterday - but worries remain about the Ministry of Defence's vast bug fix program, which is going right down to the wire.
The MoD, which accounts for half of Whitehall's bug fix, has an overall completion date of December and by March had only fixed two thirds of its business critical IT systems. But the overall picture marks even more of a last ditch effort by the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, which today are less than 50 per cent complete.
Speaking in the Commons yesterday afternoon, Beckett said: "Almost half of departments and agencies have now completed their work on business critical IT systems."
However she warned that the MoD had, "no room for slippage in the large and complex defence programme." Also highlighted were concerns about the Foreign Office, which has an overall completion date of October 1999.
The Navy has only completed 18 per cent of its 123 business critical IT systems and expects to translate this into project completion in October. The Air Force has concluded work on 43 per cent of its 117 critical systems and states it will complete in November.
The Army is 75 per cent done of 443 systems and intends to complete in September, while the Procurement arm, which is 61 per cent finished and has 552 critical systems, is aiming for November.
But the Ministry of Defence stressed there was no danger to public safety: "There is absolutely no danger from our nuclear weapons systems or any other weapons systems. If there is any bug problem of any kind, they shut down in a safe state."
The spokesman went on to stress that all RAF aircraft were certified as safe in January and will be ready to fly missions by the end of May, while the last ship will be checked off this August.
The bug fix has 700 full time staff at present, rising to 1200 and costs #200 million annually.
Other departments and agencies criticised by Beckett in her previous quarterly return - the Inland Revenue, Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency and the Medicines Control Agency, were described as having made "significant improvements". They are on track to finish in May (with one section completing in July), June and August respectively.
Overall bug fix costs continue to rise slowly to #420 million so far.
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