18 January 2001

Alison Halford (Delyn):

Can the House Committee provide an update on the steps taken to improve the quality and reliability of the National Assembly’s IT system? (OAQ8942)

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

Business and Information Systems Division, which manage the Assembly’s contract with Siemens Business Services, have been working on a number of projects to improve the Assembly’s IT system. A report looking at the costs of upgrading links to constituency offices to improve the speed of access to OSIRIS was commissioned from BIS and considered by the House Committee last year. The costs of the option proposed were considered prohibitive—of the order of £500,000 with a further £200,000 per annum thereafter. Alternatives, which might prove to be more cost effective, are currently under consideration. SBS has been instructed to improve the robustness of the telecommunications system supporting the OSIRIS network in Cardiff. hardware and software used by Assembly Members and support staff on the OSIRIS system is planned for the next financial year.

Alison Halford:

I do not want to be negative and I accept that our IT providers have done their best, but we are entirely dependent on a decent IT system especially in Delyn as one of the farthest flung outposts. It was the first constituency to have a computer and has probably suffered more than most. I have here 11 pages of communication from my office to the service providers and it makes unhappy reading. In addition, although we have been given a video conferencing facility, it does not work. I would be grateful if that could also be added to the list of whinges.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

Under the Assembly’s ICT strategy, the Executive hopes to improve its infrastructure across Wales. If this can be achieved, the Assembly may be one of the first organisations to benefit. We had a conversation yesterday. If you connected the printer that has been supplied to your machine you could download 15 times quicker than you do at present. Therefore, improvements can be made. I know your support staff and I do not think that he is incapable of using the system properly. He is very competent so I do not think that you will have problems. We will endeavour to do all that we can to solve your problems.

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