IT – UK falls by the 2000 wayside

A lack of public-sector leadership in tackling the millennium bug is undermining the government’s high-profile campaign to speed-up year-2000 compliance, according to a independent report published this week.

The bi-annual survey by IT services giant Cap Gemini involved 1,680 European businesses of all sizes and found that the UK had slipped from second to eighth place in a European league of millennium compliance.

The UK public sector is singled out as the main factor for the dramatic slip, in particular, local authorities and the NHS.

In addition, a report from an independent year-2000 watchdog criticised levels of compliance among central government departments.

These attacks have coincided with a government campaign to urge employees to blow the whistle on bosses who are failing to address the year 2000 threat. Margaret Beckett, the minister responsible for the issue, suggested staff should write anonymous letters to their board.

Chris Webster, UK head of year 2000 services at Cap Gemini said the private sector in the UK was far ahead of the public sector. ‘The UK would be fourth in the European league, on a par with Germany, if we took out the public sector.’

Keith Beaumont, head of year 2000 preparation for the local government association said: ‘Some local authorities are behind, especially in the shires. But a report from the Audit Commission this week will show a general progress.’

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