§ Mr. Cousins
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many IT computerisation projects his Department has commissioned from the private sector; on which dates 245W they were commissioned; what was the expenditure on such projects to date; and what was the termination date of the projects. 
§ Ms Hewitt
The Treasury has commissioned two IT computerisation projects from the private sector since the start of this Administration. The two systems are:
- (i) an upgrade to the Ministerial Correspondence System which was commissioned in November 1997; and
- (ii) a new Financial Information System, the underlying system for the Public Expenditure Survey information. This project was commissioned in January 1998.
The two projects are still ongoing. The precise costs of the contracts cannot be given for reasons of commercial confidentiality.
An IT computerisation project commissioned from the private sector has been taken to be one in which the software has been specifically written to address the particular needs of the Department. As such it excludes the purchase of small, general-purpose software packages.