Government in disarray over Y2K

Research by Taskforce 2000 has indicated that the Government is unprepared to deal with the year 2000 date change problem and that it is too late to prevent the millennium bug causing chaos in government departments.

The research contradicts recent assurances from the Government that necessary systems are in place to prevent a millennium disaster. Robin Guenier, executive director of Taskforce 2000, said: “The public sector is in trouble.

It has been slow in getting to grips with this and now is forced to engage in damage limitation. This study shows that the Government is still struggling to come to terms with the size of the task it faces.”

The research, which is not a full audit of government systems, is a study of official published information. Its findings indicate that the Government has massively under budgeted for the cost of fixing systems despite adjusting its estimate for solving the problem from #1bn to #3bn. The report says the true cost could be in the region of #7bn-#8bn.

It also talks of a “death by a thousand cuts” situation developing.

In other words, major individual failures can be prevented but if small individually minor failures occur repeatedly over a short space of time then systems will grind to a halt. The study says there is little published information on contingency planning.

Steve Busby of Compuware, which sponsored the report, said: “The situation for many in both the public and private sector is becoming critical … urgent action will save a great deal of heartache later.”

The Government departments that seem most at risk or most unprepared include the Ministry of Defence, the Home Office and the Department of Trade & Industry.

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