The new Labor government has taken the y2k bull by the horns and has pledged immediate action: a survey, as well as forming several committees. And it is only late 1997.
Note that the report calls the problem "potentially catastrophic." But, no problem! "Overall, my assessment is that we have established the measure of the problem and set in hand plans which are realistic and achievable." Nevertheless, "the bulk of the actual remedial or replacement work is yet to be done, the timetable is tight and there is little margin for error. This is the challenge."
"Little margin for error." Now, there are an additional 175 (or more) nations that are facing this problem. Are they on schedule? Who monitors them? Who imposes sanctions if they don't stick to a formal timetable?
I don't think these bureaucrats will get the job done. But if they don't, "potentially catastrophic" becomes "catastrophic." Call me a doomsayer, a nay-sayer, an extremist. In late 1999, I'll be mainstream.
In 2000? Maybe just another former Pollyanna.
* * * * * * * *
Dr Clark, Minister for Public Service, gave a statement to Parliament today on the Government's work in resolving the Millennium computer problem. The text of the statement follows.
"With permission, Madam Speaker, I would like to make a statement on how Government Departments and their agencies are tackling the Millennium Compliance Problem - sometimes called the "Millennium Bomb" - within Central Government Departments and Agencies.
The problem is widely understood to pose serious and potentially catastrophic hazards in all organisations, in both public and private sectors, in every country worldwide. . . .
Immediately after taking office I asked to receive, as soon as possible after 1st October, detailed and costed plans, showing how their Departments and Agencies were tackling the problem. My officials have now analysed those plans.
On the basis of those plans I am now able to confirm that all Departments and Agencies have work in hand and scheduled for completion in time - the majority by December 1998, some by March 1999 and a small number during 1999. Some Departments will in general give priority to correcting business critical systems and may leave systems of minor importance until later. . . .
Overall, my assessment is that we have established the measure of the problem and set in hand plans which are realistic and achievable. But the bulk of the actual remedial or replacement work is yet to be done, the timetable is tight and there is little margin for error. This is the challenge. The programme needs continuous monitoring, and I shall be checking progress regularly and report to the House on a quarterly basis starting this Spring. . . .
Finally, I can announce today that we are re-inforcing and strengthening our effort in two significant ways.
First, a Ministerial Group is being set up, under my Rt Hon Friend the President of the Board of Trade, to drive forward action to tackle the Year 2000 problem across the public and private sectors. I will be a member of that Group, chairing a Sub-Group which will co-ordinate and drive forward the action for which central government Departments and Agencies are responsible.
Second, we have asked Don Cruickshank, the Chairman of Action 2000, to re-inforce this effort across both the public and private sectors by keeping in close touch with the Ministerial Group and advising on best practice from the private sector.
Madam Speaker, I hope that this demonstrates the seriousness with which we take this problem, and the vigour of our approach to it. These efforts will be maintained."