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Members: Video Conferencing

Volume 475: debated on Wednesday 14 May 2008

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission (1) what the reasons were for the decision not to extend the video conferencing trials on the parliamentary estate; and if the Commission will reconsider this decision; (205102)

(2) what assessment the Commission has made of the merits of video conferencing on the parliamentary estate as a means of reducing the need of staff and hon. Members to travel to meetings.

There has been no specific assessment of whether video conferencing would be an effective means of reducing the need of staff and Members to travel to meetings. Parliamentary ICT (PICT) has been running a very limited informal trial of two ‘table top’ video conferencing products to establish their technical viability and to gain some insight into their potential benefit. This is now complete.

PICT's work relating to Members ICT has been defined by the Administration Committee in its second report of 2006-07 “Information and Communication Technology Services for Members” (HC 498), as approved by the Commission. The report's recommendations and the programme of work that has been agreed with the Commission do not include extending the provision of video conferencing in the immediate future.

For Members who do wish to use this type of service a portable video conference facility can be booked via the room booking service for use in some of the meeting rooms in Portcullis House and PICT can offer some advice to Members on the products that they could consider and their cost if they wish to use this service in their own offices.