Looks like some good news is being reported. Wonder whats going to happen.

UK ID card scheme near collapse, as Blair pushes cut-down ‘variant’

Not delayed, not sleeping, dead – UK ID card scheme goes under

Emails from Whitehall officials in chare of ID cards

From: Foord, David (OGC)
Sent: 08 June 2006 15:17
Subject: RE: Procurement Strategy

This has all the inauspicious signs of a project continuing to be driven by an arbitrary end date rather than reality. The early variant idea introduces huge risk on many levels some of which mature in these procurement options.How can IPS plan to do anything but extend existing contracts in the absence of an approved business case? The plan on page 8 shows outline business case approval in March 2007 (which incidentally I think is a reasonable target but by no means guaranteed). OJEU is dependent on this (as page 15 plan shows correctly) so Sept 06 is not an option for anything other than supporting business as usual.

Also even if everything went perfectly (which it will not) it is very debatable (given performance of Govt ICT projects) whether whatever TNIR turns out to be (and that is a worry in itself) can be procured, delivered, tested and rolled out in just over two years and whether the resources exist within Govt and industry to run two overlapping procurements. What benchmark in the Home Office do we have that suggests that this is even remotely feasible?

I conclude that we are setting ourselves up to fail. This is based on:

my conversations with stakeholders about:

the amount of rethinking going on about identity management (which at best will provide an agreed vision and some signposts by end July),

  • the (un)affordability of all the individual programmes,
  • the very serious shortage of appropriately qualified staff and numbers of staff,
  • the lack of clear benefits from which to demonstrate a return on investment,
  • the concerns about the lack of requirement documentation, and in addition:
  • that ministers probably will not make a quick decision on papers submitted so the July date will slip badly,
  • the likely hiatus caused by the summer holidays,
  • the need surely to at least brief the new cabinet committee (IM),
  • the need to involve the players on the yet to be established Public/Private forum,
  • almost certainly a requirement for a Gate 0 on the programmes and Gate 2′s on the projects,

and of course a requirement to regain HO and the grant of HMT approval on a radically revised business case(s) as part of which OGC will want to see evidence of a robust and resilient project management approach.

Although much of this is for the programme and project management team to consider there is a responsibility for procurement to be realistic about what can be done in the real world.


David Foord
Mission Critical Director (Identity and Defence)
[Office of Government Commerce]

From: Smith Peter (UKPA)
Sent: 08 June 2006 15:44
Subject: RE: Procurement Strategy

I wouldn’t argue with a lot of this David; share your concerns about TNIR timescale certainly, and the ‘wider scheme’ implications where still issues about joining up I think across the HO. We should talk… but 2 points in our defence…!

1. It was a Mr Blair who wanted the ‘early variant’ card. Not my idea…

2. The procurements we will (we hope) launch in the next few months – not the TNIR but things like APSS and contact centre – are all necessary (essential) to sustain IPS business as usual, and we are designing the strategy so that they are all sensible and viable contracts in their own right EVEN IF the ID Card gets canned completely. So also less dependence on business case approval etc.

Let’s talk sometime soon anyway.

Peter Smith
Acting Commercial Director, IPS [Identity and Pasport Service]

From: Foord, David (OGC)
Sent: 09 June 2006 11.38
Subject: RE: Procurement Strategy

Let’s meet. Just because ministers say do something does not mean we ignore reality – which is what seems to have happened on ID Cards until the OJEU was to be issued and then reality could not be ignored any longer. Doing this again is not a real option for the Home Office or IPS so I really want to be sure that what IPS intends to do is based on the real world. I do not want to be doing this next Spring when Julian Kelly and I review the business case, prior to recommending the Chancellor grant approval, and find it seriously wanting, I want to be sure about this before any promises are made.

I do not have a problem with ministers wanting a face saving solution, but we need to be clear with the programme team, senior officials, special advisors and ministers etc just what this implies. They need to understand this, because a botched introduction of a descoped early variant ID Card backed by TNIR, if it is subject to a media feeding frenzy (queues outside passport offices! and more recently IND) – which it might well be close to a general election, could put back the introduction of ID Cards for a generation and won’t do much for IPS credibility nor for the Govt’s election chances either (latter not our problem but might play with ministers).

My position is we have to be clear of the business case for an early variant (not really a commercial issue I know) AND whether we honestly believe it could be delivered (and this I think is more your territory given suggestions of a dual track procurement for TRIR and NIR (so we know what these things look like?; what confidence do we have commercially that such a timetable could be met, what is industry’s view on this?). My view based on present experience is that neither the Home Office or IPS should attempt challenging, they should be forced to do safe.

I am pretty free in the week beginning 19th (Monday and Tuesday) would be favourite as this is just before a major centre meeting from which I have to decide what to suggest John tells the PM formally in his late June letter on this programme.

Helpful if we could establish

(a) what has to be done for steady state or has already been approved and what requires the ID business case to be approved before it can be contracted.
(b) what you will be recommending to IPS
(c) how does this impact with other procurements
(d) what your view and industry’s view (if not first then second hand) is of the viability of these options.
(e) is this a challenging timetable?


David Foord
Mission Critical Director (Identity and Defence)
[Office of Government Commerce]

NO2ID - Stop ID cards and the database state

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