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Departmental ICT

Volume 471: debated on Wednesday 30 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the (a) start date, (b) original planned completion date, (c) current expected completion date, (d) planned cost and (e) current estimated cost is for each information technology project being undertaken by his Department and its agencies; and if he will make a statement. (180568)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is running a wide range of information technology-enabled projects. Some are managed centrally, while others are initiated and managed by the holders of devolved budgets both in the UK or at posts overseas. For those centrally managed projects, and groups of projects marshalled together as programmes around a significant business change, the requested details are shown in the following table.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Current information technology projects > £2 million

Start date

Original planned completion date

Expected completion date

Originally planned costs (£ million)

Estimated costs (£ million)

Future Firecrest (AIM)1

February 2005

February 2012

February 2012



FCONet 32

March 2006

June 2007

February 2008


< 3.5

EDRM (eRecords/iRecords)3

September 2004

March 2010

March 2010



FCO Web Platform4

July 2005

November 2008

November 2008



Secure Video Conferencing

April 2007

March 2008

March 2008



Managed Reporting Service

January 2007

January 2008

January 2008



FTN (FCO Telecommunications Network) private finance initiative implementation and service 2000-105

May 2000

May 2010

May 2010



Ocean (Telecommunications reprocurement)6

October 2007

May 2010

May 2010

> 72

UKvisas Biometrics

May 2005

December 2007

March 2008



1 The cost of Future Firecrest has been increased by the obligation to implement central Government security policies instituted after the Future Firecrest contract had been agreed.

2 Exact final project costs are being calculated, and are known to be less than the £3.5 million budget, but are not available at the time of writing.

3 The scope of iRecords has been reduced in the light of financial constraints.

4 The scope, and hence costs, were reduced on examination of the full business case.

5 FTN is a service, chargeable by usage. The additional cost reflects a demand that has increased significantly since the original estimates of traffic volumes were drawn up in 2000. Unit costs have been reduced, but this is obscured in the headline figure.

6 The scope, and hence the cost, of Ocean will be determined shortly; the cost of the procurement is likely to exceed £2 million.

7 To be determined.


Implementation of the Prism system, reported on in previous answers, was completed in May 2006, two months later than originally planned, and the implementation programme was closed at the end of March 2007 following the recommendation of an Office of Government Commerce Gateway Review.