This morning I chaired a meeting of our IT Steering Committee. It sounds drably technical but the Steering Committee is a vital part of the administration’s overall governance mechanisms. Pretty much everything we do involves IT in one way or another. A summary document listed 17 critical information systems, 16 important systems and 10 others, and this is not to mention applications such as those, to take a few examples, that manage the lighting in our offices, the telephone switchboard or the inter-library search engines. Nor have I listed the very many different software programmes – off the shelf or generated in house – that enable the Committee to function. A non-exhaustive list of critical systems would include payment of salaries and HR management, payment of members’ expenses and travel, budgetary management, management of mail and documents, inventory regulation, legislative processes, interpretation requests, document drafting and management, translation, websites (inter-, intra-and extra-nets) and communication (including e-mails and electronic documents). All of this – software and hardware – needs long term strategic planning and investment and shorter term management, including reaction to shifting patterns of demand and reduction of risk. We must also plan and manage jointly with our sister organisation, the Committee of the Regions. For the most part, we see nothing of all of this, though we rely on it heavily. That it should be quite so invisible is down, quite simply, to the excellence of our officials and technicians.