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
the millennium bug and the celebrations in the capital on millennium
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
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
'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.'
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 Electricity Blue
Thames Water Blue
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
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.'
'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.'
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
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.