Hansard to replace aging system

The record of Parliamentry proceedings is set to get a new production system

Hansard, the record of Parliamentary proceedings, is set to get a new production system, to replace one that was adapted from a system built for the Canberra Parliament.

The current software is more than 10 years old and is based on Microsoft Office for XP, which Microsoft no longer supports, Hansard manager Lynlee Earles explains. The company that did this tailoring also no longer provides support for it, she says, owing to a key figure’s retirement.

Efforts to make the publication of Hansard more timely and relevant over the years have resulted in a number of add-ons, including the facility to produce an early draft of proceedings, two-and-a-half hours after the words are spoken in Parliament, and to email the text as quickly as possible to MPs.

These add-ons will be integrated into the new production system for more efficient operation. The Hansard office is particularly interested in gathering information from potential suppliers about “existing products that might be modified to suit the office’s requirements”, says a preliminary Notice of Intent.

It is not envisaged at this stage that any radically new function or form of output will be provided by the new system in the short term, says Earles, but a detailed request for proposal was still being finalised when Computerworld spoke to her.

The RFP will be issued in the next few weeks.

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