Headlines: July 21st, 1998

The Audit Commission has warned that public organisations or managers may be held legally liable for any injuries or losses caused by failures of systems as a result of the Millennium bug. And the Commission has called on authorities and trusts need to work together with their suppliers to co-ordinate their efforts.

The majority of local authorities and NHS trusts are behind schedule in tackling the year 2000 bug successfully. Less than one third have documented their strategies for dealing with the problem.

Prompt action is needed if local government and NHS bodies are to be ready for the millennium according to the Audit Commission.

If problems associated with the millennium bug are not addressed key public services including communications with fire engines and ambulances, child protection registers, benefit payments and traffic lights could fail.

Andrew Foster, Controller of the Audit Commission, said: “The millennium bug is one of the most significant challenges currently facing organisations. Time is fast running out with less than 400 working days to take action.

“All Chief Executives and Directors should check how far they have got against our report. There is time to tackle the bug but authorities and trusts have to focus on the issue today.”