CPS to fall prey to millennium bug

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is one of the worst government departments in the fight against Year 2000 problems.

The latest review by the Cabinet Office, detailing how well government departments are doing in tackling the millennium bug, shows Court Services in England and Wales and the Lord Chancellor's Department in the bottom quarter of the 82 listed.

The CPS is one of just 12 government departments that does not already have a business contingency plans in place. But both the CPS and LCD insist any outstanding Year 2000 work will be completed by August or September.

A CPS spokeswoman says its shift to 42 areas and the appointment of area business managers means that contingency plans have been left until the new managers are in place.

“It would have been ridiculous to do it beforehand,” she says. “It will be for the new ABMs to take these plans forward… and I think five months will be adequate.”

Software systems tracking all criminal cases are to be protected within a month.

The Lord Chancellor says the justice system is safe, with 90 per cent of his department's business-critical systems expected to be secure by next month and the rest by September.

The LCD's external consultants say they are “satisfied that the LCD has secured itself from Year 2000 threats and that its customers, suppliers and other partners in the justice system can depend on its services and operations continuing undisturbed”.

Year 2000 preparatory work at the Land Registry, Public Record Office and Northern Ireland Court Service is already complete.

The LCD has spent only £10,147 on Year 2000 concerns, but a spokesman says: “A lot of upgrades were due anyway and those costs are not included in that budget.”

The Law Society has published a book entitled, Year 2000 Compliance, the lawyer's guide to surviving the millennium bug.