Pensions Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:00 am on 15th January 2008.

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Paul Myners: Subject to Parliament’s discretion, personal accounts, as envisaged, will involve a series of functions that already equates quite closely with those offered in the private sector. That is to say, we ought to be able to draw upon existing systems and methods, as opposed to designing and building something that is entirely novel and particular to the requirements of personal accounts. We are, of course, aware of the challenges of implementing major systems arrangements, but Mr. Jones and I bring quite a lot of relevant experience from the private sector. Mr. Jones was head of the retail bank NatWest and I was chairman of Marks & Spencer and have been on the board of companies using technology, such as O2, Orange and Lloyds, so I am familiar with major IT projects. I believe that the reviews already carried out of the work done at PADA by the Office of Government Commerce and by the Treasury’s major projects review group have already spoken very positively about the competencies that they have seen within the PADA unit, as far as the management of major systems projects is concerned. However, we do not take these issues lightly—we recognise that there are major challenges here. We are going to have to be absolutely on our toes, because we are talking about very substantial sums of money.