asked Her Majesty's Government:
Over what period information technology equipment purchased by departments and agencies is written off; whether it normally remains in use until fully depreciated; whether there are controls over the replacement of equipment before it is fully written off; and whether equipment that is replaced is recycled.
Accounting for information technology equipment is covered by the financial reporting standard (FRS) 15 tangible fixed assets. Central government applies this standard with only minor adaptations and interpretations as detailed in the Government Financial Reporting Manual (FReM).
Under FRS 15, departments as the user of the asset are responsible for assessing fixed asset lives—ie, the period over which the asset is to be depreciated. FRS 15 also requires that the useful life of an asset should be reviewed at the end of each reporting period.
Controls over equipment in use, the replacement of that equipment and whether to recycle are decided by individual departments.