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Monday, July 12, 1999 Published at 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK


Councils trailing in 'bug' action

Four councils are trailing in the Millennium Bug stakes

A government watchdog says some Scottish councils are still failing to take proper precautions against the so-called Millennium Bug.

The BBC's Asad Ahmad reports.
Action 2000 believes some essential services could be among those disrupted if councils suffer computer failures on 1 January next year.

The government-appointed body, which was set up to monitor preparations to combat potential computer problems in the year 2000, fears some organisations may have run out of time.

[ image: Most services are on course]
Most services are on course
The Scottish councils affected are Orkney, East Dunbartonshire, Western Isles Council and Argyll and Bute.

Action 2000 has created a "traffic-light" system of red, amber and blue points given out to organisations or business sectors to describe their state of readiness.

Of Scotland's 32 local authorities, 28 are indicating "amber" but four have yet to get beyond "red".

Chairman Don Cruikshank said most organisations are meeting the standards set down for Year 2000 compatibility - indicated by a "blue" rating.

But he revealed that some parts of the national infrastructure - particularly local government and financial institutions - were still indicating "red" and this could have an effect in the event of computer failure.

Material disruption

He said: "I am very concerned that there are still 'reds' at this stage. These areas pose the risk to our aim of no material disruption to the UK infrastructure due to the Millennium Bug.

"Clearly, the spotlight remains on them to eliminate the 'reds' and report their progress."

He added: "There are too many critical sectors where identified risk remains."

Action 2000's assessment of key services found:

  • Twenty eight of Scotland's 32 local authorities are indicating amber but four have yet to get beyond red.

  • All three Scottish Water Authorities are indicating blue

  • Scotland's 46 NHS organisations are currently amber and are expected to indicate blue by September

  • Eight Scottish brigades are indicating blue and six are amber - moving to blue by September

  • All eight police forces are amber and expected to meet the blue category by October

Welcoming the report, Scottish First Minister Donald Dewar said: "While the red status of a few local authorities, already announced on 30 June, is a cause for concern, this must not detract from the overall picture.

"The fact that most organisations are now either amber or blue gives increasing confidence that it will be 'business as usual' over the Millennium date change period."

But Mr Dewar said there was still "no room for complacency" in ensuring services continue to function.

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