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Parliamentary Website

Volume 404: debated on Thursday 8 May 2003

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To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission which company is contracted to manage the parliamentary website search engine; how many years this company has held the contract; how much has been paid to this company in each year for which figures are available; when the contract is up for renewal; and if he will make a statement. [111871]

The parliamentary website has two search facilities. The first is a search function supplied as part of the service provided by The Stationery Office Ltd., for the electronic publication of House of Commons publications. The company has provided the service since it was first launched in 1996 and most recently was awarded a five-year contract, with the possibility of extension for up to a further two years, from 1 April 2000. This service was modified in July last year, as part of the redesign of the Parliamentary website, by the provision of a new front end search menu and the inclusion of the ability to search across the remainder of material on the parliamentary website.The second relates to the more specialised searches that can be undertaken within the POLIS system. This system is due to be replaced by the end of 2004 and, as part of the tendering exercise that is already well under way, options for the replacement of the search facility will be evaluated. In both cases the search functions are part of a larger service and so it is not possible to identify the specific costs incurred in providing them. In any case, as a matter of policy, the House does not disclose the cost of individual contracts, which are commercially confidential.