In the House of Commons, Duncan welcomed the Coalition Government’s announcement of a new joint venture with Corsham-based Ark Data Centres Ltd to transform the way Government computer servers are hosted.
Three years ago, Duncan took Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude to visit Ark’s data centre at Spring Park, Corsham and learn about the business’ potential to revolutionise Government computing.
Mr Maude announced the joint venture, “Crown Hosting Data Centres”, which will provide public bodies with a physical space to host their computer servers and systems that aren’t in the cloud. The government says it will save the taxpayer £105 million over seven years.
In the House of Commons, Duncan said:
“It is three years to the day since the Minister took up my invitation to visit Ark Data Centres with me in Corsham, so I’m delighted to hear that the taxpayer stands to benefit to the tune of £100 million from the Crown Hosting joint venture with them. Surely the benefits of digital services extend much further because they allow a total redesign of the processes which underpin our public services.”
Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, replied:
“My Honourable Friend is completely right on this. Sometimes digitisation of services is seen as just a pretty front end on a website. This is much deeper. This is about a fundamental redesign of the way in which services are delivered, to design them around the needs of the citizen instead of being built around the convenience of the government which has far too often been the case in the past.”
Afterwards, Duncan said:
“I was pleased to bring the Cabinet Office Minister to Ark’s innovative data centre in Corsham three years ago, and am very glad that what he saw there gave him the confidence to embark on this joint venture with them.
“It will save the taxpayer money and improve government services, while also bringing investment to our part of Wiltshire, helping to build a stronger economy here.”
Duncan invited Mr Maude to visit Ark in a Parliamentary Question on 8th February 2012. Mr Maude accepted the invitation and joined Duncan in Corsham on 23rd March 2012. On 6th February 2013 he asked another Parliamentary Question of Mr Maude, encouraging him to target data centres such as Ark’s as a way to save the taxpayer money.