To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when his Department's contract with Cable and Wireless for the provision of internet services expires; when he expects the tendering process for its replacement to begin; and what discussions he plans to have with (a) Cable and Wireless and (b) subsequent providers on access to sites identified with child abuse.
The Home Office currently has the ability to access the internet via its service contract with Cable and Wireless under the Government Secure Intranet (GSi) framework via Buying Solutions. This framework expires in August 2011 with individual service contracts expiring no later than February 2012.
It should be noted that the GSi is not the only or exclusive method by which the Home Office, or indeed any Government Department, can gain access to the internet.
The tendering process for the replacement framework is already under way, beginning in December 2009 and targeted for delivery spring 2011.
The replacement frameworks will require internet service providers to offer filtering facilities to block access to specific sites.
We have been working with the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) to change the conditions under which contracts for internet services to Government or Government agencies were offered. It is now a requirement that all suppliers block access to those sites specified on the IWF's list. This will apply to all new contracts offered for supply of these services, and we would strongly urge all suppliers, or those wishing to become suppliers, to ensure that they take the IWF list.