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Departmental Computers

Volume 477: debated on Monday 16 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has issued guidance to staff in his Department to switch off personal computers when not in use; and if he will make a statement. (208175)

For reasons of technical security Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff are instructed not to switch off personal computers when not in use.

The implementation of the FCO's new information technology system, Future Firecrest, started in March this year. The first phase involves replacing ageing equipment in the UK; the replacement of similar equipment at posts overseas will start later this year.

The old technology provided no effective reduced power settings. Future Firecrest is configured to make the best use of new energy saving capabilities so that personal computers enter a mode drawing minimal power—between 2 per cent. and 5 per cent. of the amount when fully powered—after a short period of user inactivity. This will be a significant contribution to the FCO's plans to reduce its energy consumption in line with the new Government targets on sustainable operations on the Government estate announced in June 2006.