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LONDON LEADS THE WAY FOR THE MILLENNIUM - BUT PLENTY MORE FOR COUNCILS TO DO SAYS GOVERNMENT

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London is ahead of the rest of the country in being prepared for the ...
London is ahead of the rest of the country in being prepared for the

millennium date change, but this is no basis for complacency,

minister for London Nick Raynsford told an audience from key London

organisations. The minister was speaking at the 'Year 2000

Readiness in London' conference which focussed on the challenge of

the millennium bug and the celebrations in the capital on millennium

night.

At the conference a 'London Readiness Statement' of preparedness of

the capital's key public services was announced. This covered

transport, utilities, emergency services, health, local government

and the retail sector.

The conference also addressed the London-wide contingency

arrangements being put into place to tackle any problems on

millennium night that might be caused by the bug - or the

celebrations.

Nick Raynsford said:

'London is on track to beat the bug, which shows that a great deal of

hard work has gone into taking the threat seriously. I wholeheartedly

applaud the efforts of London organisations for leading the way in

the UK. The public need to be confident that key service providers

will be able to provide continuity of service over the millennium

period.

'Although London has made very good progress so far, it is extremely

important that all public services realise that they cannot afford to

be complacent. There are now 157 days left before the millennium. I

urge all of you to use the time available to best effect.'

Chair of the Association of London Government, Toby Harris said:

'As this conference shows, this is a real partnership effort between

central and local government, with the emergency and health services,

with the utilities, transport, the river authorities and the

organisers of London's celebrations. As chair of the Association of

London Government, I bring the conference the continuing commitment

of London's local authorities to improving yet further our

preparations for a safe and enjoyable period of celebrations across

the whole of London.'

NOTES

London Readiness 2000 was set up by Nick Raynsford the Minister for

London in partnership with the Association of London Government,

Government Office for London, London Fire Brigade, Corporation of

London, Metropolitan Police Service and the London NHS.

Bug readiness is assessed as follows:

Blue: No risk of material disruption

Amber: Some risk of material disruption but agreed containment

plans to rectify shortcomings

Red: Severe risk of materialdisruption. Timely rectification may

not be possible.

London Boroughs assessment: 9 Blue, 24 Amber

London Emergency Services:

London Fire Civil Defence Authority Blue

City of London Police Amber

Metropolitan Police Service Amber

London Ambulance Service Green *

London Utilities:

Transco Blue

BT Blue

London Electricity Blue

Thames Water Blue

London Transport:

London Underground Amber

Railtrack 75% Blue

Airports in London Blue

Port of London Authority Blue

Highways Agency Blue

* Green corresponds approximately to the blue Action 2000 scores.

Margaret Beckett, leader of the house, told key London

organisations about her perspective to the countdown to the

millennium.

Making a keynote speech at the 'Year 2000 Readiness in London'

conference, Mrs Beckett, said:

'I know London will be a very exciting place to be at the end of this

year. You may have heard today about many of the wonderful

celebrations which are planned for the capital. But let's not forget

that we all need to be as prepared as we can be for the Millennium

Bug on a national and local level.

'In the UK we have done as much work as anyone in preparing to beat

the bug. But there is still more work to do. Good progress is being

made by central government which continues on track to become

millennium compliant. However there is no room for complacency. We

are continuing to search out the problems, fix them, test the fixes

and plan for the unforeseen with an added emphasis on business

continuity plans. In government we believe it is important to be open

about our programmes and communicate what is happening to the public.

That is why I report to parliament on a regular basis, on how this

work is progressing.'

Commenting on the National Infrastructure Forum, Mrs Beckett said:

'The results announced at the National Infrastructure Forum last

Tuesday were encouraging, although organisations in many sectors have

still to compete their programmes. The most recent Forum showed that

the situation is much improved. Action 2000's colour coding system

showed that there are many more sectors reporting and all of them had

some 'blue' to report. Several areas showed 100% blue assessment such

as water, telecommunications, air traffic control and benefit

payments. Many others such as gas, electricity and many transport

sectors are very close.

'However, the majority of organisations are still graded 'amber' and

a huge amount of work remains to be done.'

Regarding local government, Mrs Beckett said:

'The overall picture is that they are 'getting there'. There has been

a great deal of hard work done, but there is plenty more to do.'

She added:

'I am pleased that the private and public sector organisations are

working co-operatively to seek to ensure no material disruption for

their consumers over the millennium period. Attendance at today's

conference shows their commitment to working to avoid material

disruptions to their services.'

NOTES

1. What is the millennium bug? It is the inability of many business

systems and other electronic devices to recognise the date change

from 1999 to 2000. This is because their timing devices only

acknowledge the last two digits of any year and may therefore

interpret the century change incorrectly, interpreting the new

date change as 1900 and not 2000. The problem could affect

business systems and embedded systems with potentially serious

consequences.

2. Action the government has taken to address the problem. Margaret Beckett chairs MDC, a cabinet

committee, which is responsible for driving action across both the

public and private sectors. The aim is to ensure there is no

material disruption of key public services over the millennium. A

dedicated Year 2000 policy team (website

http://www.open.gov.uk/year2000), based in the Cabinet Office,

supports MDC and the Year 2000 Media Co-ordination Unit has been

established in the Cabinet Office to act as a central government

press office and co-ordination centre for Y2K information. (tel.

020 7270 6193/6085, fax. 020 7270 6628.)

3. Action 2000 Millennium Bug Campaign. Action 2000 is a company set

up by the government to help and advise private sector businesses

on converting their awareness of the millennium bug into action.

The campaign was launched in January 1998 with an actionline (0845

601 2000) and website (http://www.bug2000.co.uk) providing

factsheets on the measures to be taken and signposting further

sources of information.

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