Tried to email your MP? Waiting for a reply from their office? Before you blame our public servants for being lazy, it may just be that their tools of the trade are on the blink.
As I report on the Exaro News website Parliament’s computer system is getting and all singing, dancing upgrade so MPs can get super access to the internet.
Only the subcontractors installing it have made one big mistake – they have programmed the system to get LESS access to the internet. The result: furious MPs, bad tempered office staff as the system regularly crashes and can’t cope.
How do we know this? Well the mother of all democracies has not made the usual public announcement.. Instead it has used its private email; system to tell its 7500 users that they have got it wrong and issued a private apology.
Details of the email from Joan Miller, director of the parliamentary IT service, are on the Exaro website.
She wrote:“The problems may have shown themselves in freezing or slowing down of your web browsing, video via the web, slower delivery of e-mails sent outside Parliament, use of [Microsoft] Office 365 and other internet-dependent systems.
“I know that this has been very frustrating and inconvenient for those affected. I therefore wanted to write to you to apologise for the ongoing problems and for any difficulties caused, and to tell you about what we have been doing to fix the problem.”
She admits:“We therefore commissioned work to upgrade and expand our links out of the estate to the internet. Unfortunately, in January, one of our suppliers involved in this upgrade inadvertently introduced an error into the supporting software. This had the opposite effect of that intended, that is, it reduced the capacity of the access to the internet.”
Officially Parliament says it is OK. A spokesman said: ” “The company that provides this fully managed service made an error, which it has rectified at its own cost. This caused some disruption to parliamentary services.”
“We are working with the supplier to ensure that the services remain resilient in the future.”
But today one of my sources says it is as bad as ever. More cover ups?
Since the publication on Exaro and on my blog the story has been taken up by Hugh Muir in the Guardian diary -with a typical wry commentary