A report by the UK’s House of Commons Administration Committee has recommended the installation of wireless internet access facilities by Parliament after discovering the technology problems facing new MPs.
Under present arrangements, many new MPs have to wait months before they are allocated office space within Parliament, meaning that the IT facilities that are in place, are made inaccessible.
In its report the Committee stated, The IT infrastructure and equipment currently provided on the Parliamentary Estate are simply not suited to a mobile Member without an office. For many new Members, adequate wireless internet access would have made working without an office much more manageable.
The Committee further recommended that Wi-Fi be made available in communal areas such as lobbies, libraries, and temporary office spaces.
The report also pointed to complaints made by MPs leaving office only to find their e-mail addresses immediately dropped from the system, without being programmed to reply with a default message. The committee advised on this point, saying, An e-mail automatic response service for former members should be provided as a matter of course in future for a period of several months after a general election.
MPs have suggested that Parliament’s IT failures are a major hindrance to the work that they conduct. As increasing numbers of constituents communicate with MPs via e-mail, it is important that they have access to facilities allowing them to respond with the speed expected of them.