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Focus Programme

Volume 404: debated on Wednesday 7 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether there will be a review within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to learn the lessons of overspend on the Focus programme. [111214]

An initial review is already underway to learn the lessons from this programme. We are also looking more widely at lessons learned from other programmes, with a view to drawing these together into a paper which will provide guidance to those managing future programmes. I would be happy to send the right hon. Member a copy of this once it is complete. The final paper will also be published on our unclassified intranet.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why it was judged that the Focus programme was not best placed to provide best value for money or provision of services needed after 11 September 2001. [111226]

The right hon. Gentlemen misunderstands the point made in my ministerial statement of 28 April 2003, Official Report, column 2WS. The events of 11 September 2001 raised the importance of back up and disaster recovery in programmes such as Focus. It was one of the factors leading to increased costs.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps have been taken to ensure that the cost of the replacement for the Focus programme will fall within his Department's financial budgets. [111227]

We are unable to afford a programme which would meet the original goals of the Focus programme. However, the FCO has prioritised its ICT budgets for this financial year to ensure we have the money required to deliver a new FCO intranet.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate has been made of the cost of providing a replacement for the Focus programme. [111228]

We can not afford to fill the gap left by the cancellation of the Focus programme in the current spending round. We will instead squeeze further efficiencies out of existing systems, and introduce a new intranet. The exact cost of the new intranet will depend on the outcome of a scoping exercise which is currently underway. It will certainly be below £1 million.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost was of the cancellation of the contract with Fujitsu for the provision of the Focus programme. [111229]

The net cost of cancelling the contract with Fujitsu was £7 million. This takes into account the amount paid to Fujitsu, internal FCO costs, and the value of assets obtained.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much money allocated to the Focus programme was irretrievable; whether penalties were imposed by Fujitsu as a result of the cancellation of the contract; and why it took as long as it did to cancel the programme once it became clear that it was no longer required. [111230]

At the point of cancellation the FCO had spent £9.5 million on the Focus programme, including internal costs, supplier costs, hardware and software. Of this we will retain assets of £2.5 million.We were able to reach a mutually acceptable settlement with Fujitsu.The issue was not that the programme was no longer required but rather that it was no longer affordable. Once the decision to cancel had been taken, we moved quickly to negotiate an agreement with Fujitsu to close the programme.