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Departmental ICT

Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 22 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the (a) energy consumed by, (b) energy cost of and (c) carbon dioxide emissions from each category of IT device in each division of his Department in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (269537)

Detailed estimates of this nature are not available although we have made estimates of the energy costs associated with our security requirement to keep certain equipment running out of hours.

In 2007, power consumption tests based on the range of personal computers (PC) then in use suggested an average daily usage of 1.92 kW per day. This level of consumption would have been broadly constant during the past five years. With the introduction of the new hardware/software, a typical PC would consume approximately 666 W per day. Identifying a cash value based on these figures would incur disproportionate cost, as different tariffs apply in the countries around the world in which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is represented.

We have recently commissioned IBM to identify our IT-related carbon footprint which will be delivered in June 2009. This will establish a basis for assessing progress made toward reducing emissions as additional measures are implemented, covering the full life of equipment from procurement, through operation, to disposal.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has taken to address the effect on levels of carbon dioxide emissions from his Department of its ICT purchases since the publication of the Greening Government ICT Strategy; and if he will make a statement. (269562)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has carried out a detailed analysis of the actions needed to achieve full alignment with the Greening Government strategy. On the basis of this, we have drawn up and are implementing a three-year plan to put in place the additional measures identified, covering the full life of ICT equipment from procurement, through operation, to disposal.

With the introduction of Future Firecrest, we have implemented a desktop/monitor power policy and are currently working on the printer policy to incorporate the Greening Government ICT strategy recommendations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the average server capacity utilisation by each division of his Department was in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (269580)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has a distributed IT estate covering over 250 posts worldwide. At present server capacity utilisation is not monitored and with the current tools available this information could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate has been made of the proportion of personal computers in each of his Department's offices that are turned off (a) overnight, (b) at weekends and (c) during holiday periods; and if he will make a statement. (269598)

For security reasons Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff are instructed to leave personal computers (PCs) switched on when not in use. There are approximately 12,000 PCs in use in FCO offices around the world. Allowing for exceptions and shared use by shift workers, an estimate of 10,000 machines left on out of office hours is reasonable, but untested.

The Future Firecrest programme is providing new equipment to FCO users worldwide. In addition to being more energy efficient this equipment enables the application of global standby policies which will lead to PC idle power consumption of between 1 per cent. and 3 per cent. of full power. To date approximately 3,500 new machines have been installed in offices in the UK. Under current plans all 12,000 worldwide will have been replaced within the next 12 months.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) printers and (b) multi-function devices with printing functions were in use in each division of his Department in each of the last five years; how many such devices had a function enabling two-sided printing; and if he will make a statement. (269611)

Responsibility for the purchase of low value IT equipment is devolved to individual budget holders worldwide. This information is not held centrally and the question could only be answered at disproportionate cost.

However, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is currently replacing IT equipment both in the UK and around the world. The printers supplied are capable of two-sided printing and will be the default setting when users print material.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many and what proportion of IT products in each category procured for each division of his Department were compliant with the Government's Buy Sustainable-Quick Win standard in the latest year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. (269633)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is currently replacing its IT infrastructure, and the Future Firecrest programme is delivering a newly designed and procured corporate IT platform. Up until recently the IT products available have not fully met the Buy Sustainable Quick Win standard, for example the complete elimination of PVC's. Current and future product choices should ensure compliance with this important Government standard.

For completeness, it is important to note that in order to maintain costs at a reasonable level, certain small items of unclassified IT equipment can be procured by posts locally. This expenditure is comparatively low and there is no centrally managed asset database to confirm compliancy. Compiling this information could only be carried out at disproportionate cost.