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Departmental Computer Security

Volume 410: debated on Monday 18 August 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been (a) budgeted and (b) spent by his Department since April 2002 on combating (i) computer fraud, (ii) preventing theft of computers and (iii) safeguarding the security information held on computer; and if he will make a statement. [128771]

The Department of Health does not have specific financial budgets for combating computer fraud, computer theft or protecting its information. These areas are subsumed within a wide variety of other budgets. Responsibility, from 1 April 2002 to 1 April 2003, for countering fraud and corruption in all its forms within the Department of Health fell to the National Health Service Counter Fraud Service. From 1 April 2003 this responsibility was transferred to a newly formed special health authority, the Counter Fraud and Security Management Service.

The Department of Health takes the protection of its computers and information systems very seriously and complies with Her Majesty's Government's Manual of Protective Security. Security measures are kept constantly under review and the Department employs a dedicated and professional security unit as part of this commitment. The Department's information technology network achieved compliance with the British Standard 7799 which covers best practice for information security management at the end of 2002. In 2002 the Department of Health awarded a new service support contract to Computer Sciences Corporation and their security expertise was significant in them winning this bid.