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MPs blast parliament's IT

The House of Commons Administration Committee has slammed the IT facilities available to new MPs and called on Westminster to consider making a secure wireless Lan available.

One MP, without an office since his election last May, was forced to sit on the steps of parliament to get a Wi-Fi signal from a nearby coffee bar to deal with his e-mail.

Many newly elected MPs have to wait months to be allocated an office in parliament, yet constituents are increasingly using new communications that demand faster response times.

The committee also heard that MPs defeated after the election immediately saw their e-mail addresses dumped from the system, with no default message added to allow message senders to know what had happened to the account.

The Administration Committee said that parliament's IT system was “simply not suited to a mobile member without an office”.

“Adequate wireless internet access would make working without an office much more manageable," it added.  “We appreciate the security and viability issues around wireless internet access, but believe that it should be possible to overcome these difficulties.”

The committee said that Wi-Fi should be made available in shared areas of parliament, including lobbies, libraries and temporary shared office accommodation, and that centrally supplied and secure laptops equipped with Wi-Fi should be handed out to those who needed them.

The committee also heard that parliament’s voicemail system did not have adequate capacity, with MPs seeing their accounts getting clogged up too soon. Extra capacity was recommended by the committee.


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