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IT Infrastructure (2015)

Request

Please could you answer the following questions regarding the equipment for The House of Commons at Westminster:

  1. How many desktop PCs do you have at this site? Which brand(s) are they?
  2. How many laptops/notebooks or tablet PCs do you have at this site? Which brand(s) are they?
  3. How many thin clients do you have at this site? Which brand(s) are they?
  4. What operating systems do you run on your PCs/Laptops?
  5. How many desktops, laptops and thin clients do you have in total in your organisation across the country?
  6. How many physical servers do you have on site? Which brand(s) are they?
  7. Which server operating systems do you use?
  8. How many virtual servers do you have on site?
  9. Which server virtualisation software do you use?
  10. Do you access any virtual servers in the cloud?
  11. What supplier provides the maintenance (out of warranty) support on your desktops and servers and when does the contract expire?
  12. What suppliers/brands of Storage Area Networking (SAN) do you use?
  13. Which application do you use for Enterprise Resource Planning/Management (ERP/ERM)?
  14. Which application do you use for Groupware Products?
  15. Which application do you use for Database Products?
  16. Which application do you use for CRM Software?
  17. Which application do you use for Business Intelligence Systems?
  18. Which application do you use for Finance & Accounting Systems?
  19. Which application do you use for Human Resources Application Systems?
  20. Are any of your business applications cloud based? If so please state which ones.
  21. What are the names, line types and speeds of your ISPs?
  22. Who is your primary voice carrier?
  23. Approximately how many phone extensions do you have at this site?
  24. Do you use VoIP for your internal communications?
  25. Are your external calls through your voice carrier carried over VoIP or do they go over a conventional phone line?
  26. Which brand of PBX do you use at this site?
  27. Which supplier has the maintenance contract on your PBX and when does it expire
  28. Who supplies the outsourced or managed service for your data centre and when does the contract expire?
  29. Who supplies the outsourced or managed service for your service desk and when does the contract expire?

 


 

Response

Whilst the House of Commons and the House of Lords are separate public authorities in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), the Parliamentary Digital Service (PDS) is a joint service providing information and communications technology services for both Houses of Parliament. The information below covers both Houses and all users of the parliamentary network e.g. MPs, Members of the House of Lords, their staff, staff of the House Administrations and non-parliamentary network users participating in parliamentary business.

  1. How many desktop PCs do you have at this site? Which brand(s) are they?
    There are 4615 PCs on the parliamentary estate and 1,684 off site and the brands supplied are Dell, HP and Apple.
  2. How many laptops/notebooks or tablet PCs do you have at this site? Which brand(s) are they?
    There are 4270 laptops and 1781 tablet PCs on the parliamentary estate and off site in total. The brands of laptops supplied are Dell, HP and Apple and the brands of tablet PCs are Apple, Dell, Microsoft, Samsung and HP.
  3. How many thin clients do you have at this site? Which brand(s) are they?
    There are 59 thin clients on the parliamentary estate. The brands of thin client being used are HP and Neoware. 
  4. What operating systems do you run on your PCs/Laptops?
    The operating systems used on the parliamentary PCs and laptops are Microsoft and OSX.
  5. How many desktops, laptops and thin clients do you have in total in your organisation across the country?
    The total number of desktop computers, laptops and thin clients held for the Houses of Parliament is 10,628.
  6. How many physical servers do you have on site? Which brand(s) are they?
    There are 88 servers on the Parliamentary Estate and two of these brands are HP and Sun.
    Information about a third brand has been withheld as it is exempt under sections 24 and 31 of the FOIA. Details of this exemption are provided below.
  7. Which server operating systems do you use?
    We use Microsoft and Unix server operating systems.
  8. How many virtual servers do you have on site?
    There are approximately 1,000 virtual servers on site. 
  9. Which server virtualisation software do you use?
    This information is held by the House of Commons but is exempt from release under sections 24 and 31 of the FOIA. Details of these exemptions are provided below.
  10. Do you access any virtual servers in the cloud?
    We do access virtual servers in the cloud.
  11. What supplier provides the maintenance (out of warranty) support on your desktops and servers and when does the contract expire?
    Upon purchasing new equipment, multi-year care packs are purchased from the supplier for each desktop and server. The expiry dates vary depending on the purchase date of each piece of equipment.
  12. What suppliers/brands of Storage Area Networking (SAN) do you use?
    This information is held by the House of Commons but is exempt from release under sections 24 and 31 of the FOIA. Details of these exemptions are provided below.
  13. Which application do you use for Enterprise Resource Planning/Management (ERP/ERM)?
    The Enterprise Resource Planning/Management application used is Agresso.
  14. Which application do you use for Groupware Products?
    Parliament uses Microsoft SharePoint for Groupware products.
    Information about two other applications used to update our internet and intranet is exempt from release under sections 24 and 31 of the FOIA. Details of these exemptions are provided below.
  15. Which application do you use for Database Products?
    The applications used as database products are SQL Server and MySQL. 
  16. Which application do you use for CRM Software?
    Microsoft Dynamics is used by several services over the parliamentary estate. Information about another application used has been withheld as it is exempt under section 24 and 31 of the FOIA. Details of this exemption are provided below.
  17. Which application do you use for Business Intelligence Systems?
    The Business Intelligence systems used are SCOM, Spotlight and Google Analytics.
  18. Which application do you use for Finance & Accounting Systems?
    The application used for Finance and Accounting systems is Agresso.
  19. Which application do you use for Human Resources Application Systems
    The application used for Human Resources is Agresso.
  20. Are any of your business applications cloud based? If so please state which ones.
    Business applications used by the House of Parliament which are cloud based and which we will disclose are as follows:  
    • O365
    • Parliament.uk
    • Data.parliament
    • Q&A portal
    • Order paper portal (beta version)
    • Myparliament.info (beta version)
    • EPoS reporting tool
    • Service management portal
    • Public tours booking system
    • Training booking system
    • Health and safety certification system
    • Retail management
    • HOL divisions
    • HoC divisions
    • Commercial ticketing
    Information about one application has been withheld as it is exempt under section 24 and 31 of the FOIA. Details of this exemption are provided below.
  21. What are the names, line types and speeds of your ISPs?
    Table for information about the names, line types and speeds of our Internet Service Providers (ISP) lines.  Details of the speed of COLT is exempt from release under sections 24 and 31 of the FOIA. Details of these exemptions are provided below.
  22. Who is your primary voice carrier?
    The primary voice carrier used is Colt.
  23. Approximately how many phone extensions do you have at this site?
    There are a total of 6,804 phone extensions allocated across the parliamentary estate. 
  24. Do you use VoIP for your internal communications?
    We do not use VoIP for our internal communications. 
  25. Are your external calls through your voice carrier carried over VoIP or do they go over a conventional phone line?
    A conventional telephone line is used for external calls.
  26. Which brand of PBX do you use at this site?
    The brand of PBX used is Siemens.
  27. Which supplier has the maintenance contract on your PBX and when does it expire?
    The maintenance contract supplier for the PBX is Unify and the expiry date for the contract is 30 June 2016.
  28. Who supplies the outsourced or managed service for your data centre and when does the contract expire?
    Information about the name of the supplier of our data centre is held by the House of Commons but is exempt from release under sections 24 and 31 of the FOIA. Details of these exemptions are provided below.
    While the name of the supplier is exempt we can confirm the contract is due to end on 28 February 2018, with one additional optional 3 year extension remaining (i.e. to February 2021, if we take up the one remaining 3 year extension).
  29. Who supplies the outsourced or managed service for your service desk and when does the contract expire?
    The Service Desk is an in-house function.

Section 31 (Law Enforcement)

Some of the information requested above has been withheld under section 31(1) (a) of the FOIA as the House considers the release of this information would be likely to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime. This is a qualified or non-absolute exemption and the public interest test applies.
The public interest in favour of disclosure is the argument of transparency in the way the House of Commons ensures its IT systems and processes are adequately robust, secure and the spending of public money is for effective systems.
However, this is outweighed by the risks of criminal activity being undertaken if the information was disclosed. The release of specific details of some of our IT software could provide valuable information to those wishing to launch an attack on Parliament and as understanding of cyber security becomes more sophisticated, we are able to review and identify where specialised information could be used for exploiting potential weaknesses in the parliamentary IT security arrangements.  This means that by disclosing this information, we would fail in our duty to help prevent criminal attacks on our IT network, which in turn would fail in our duty to assist those services providing us with law enforcement.
In these circumstances it is our view that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

Section 24 (Safeguarding national security)

The House also considers this information exempt under section 24 (1) for the purposes of safeguarding national security. This is a qualified or non-absolute exemption and the public interest test applies.
The public interest in favour of disclosure is the argument of transparency in the way the House of Commons ensures its IT systems and processes are adequately robust, secure and spending of public money is for effective systems.
However, whilst there may be a public interest in access to this information, the countervailing argument is that the disclosure of the requested information would allow parties planning hostile attacks on Parliament to more accurately target our cyber systems (in the ways detailed above), with the aim of disrupting the proper workings of government.

It is considered that in this case it is not in the wider public interest to disclose this information as the failure of the Parliamentary IT Network would risk national security being compromised.