UK National Identity Cards Scheme
The UK National Identity Cards Scheme is a programme to introduce biometric identity cards to the United Kingdom. The introduction of the cards was initially championed by former Home Secretary David Blunkett . A key component of the scheme is the establishment of the National Identity Register, a centralized database of personal information .
Legislation to implement the scheme, in the form of the Identity Cards Bill, was introduced to the House of Commons by Blunkett on November 29, 2004 . The bill fell victim to the legislative guillotine before the May 2005 general election. However, it was revived immediately afterwards, with Tony Blair apparently determined to fast track it through Parliament . In June 2005, silicon.com reported that Home Office minister Tony McNulty had "confirmed the government expects the bill to pass through the House of Commons and the Lords by the end of October, with ID cards on the statute book by the end of the year." 
The bill will have its second reading in the Commons on June 28, 2005 .
- 1 Programme overview
- 2 Ministerial team
- 3 Recruitment of a 'Head of Marketing' responsible 'for all aspects of positioning and promoting ID cards'
- 4 Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) requests regarding the ID cards programme
- 5 Known private sector employees working on secondment to the ID cards team
- 6 Consultancy contracts for the ID cards scheme
- 7 Contact details
- 8 SourceWatch resources
- 9 External links
According to the Home Office website: "The Identity Cards Programme Team is responsible for the design and development of the national identity cards scheme, including enabling legislation. It is also responsible for co-ordinating public and private sector initiatives to reduce identity fraud and for policy on proof of age cards." 
Recruitment of a 'Head of Marketing' responsible 'for all aspects of positioning and promoting ID cards'
In late 2004, the Home Office advertised for a 'Head of Marketing' for the ID cards scheme. According to the job advertisement, "The Head of Marketing will take responsibility for all aspects of positioning and promoting ID cards and ID card services to its customers and stakeholders... In addition, there are a large number of other organisations that have an interest in ID cards (including some favourably disposed towards ID Cards, and some against the idea) whose views and concerns need to be understood and managed as the programme proceeds from consultation towards launch and beyond. As well as development of the Marketing Strategy for the ID Cards (covering the vision for the scheme, its positioning and branding) the role will have oversight of stakeholder management, research, and communications activities within the marketing function." 
Recruitment for the position, which has a salary of between £47,000 and £66,000 a year , was handled through The Whitehall & Industry Group (WIG), a body which describes itself as bringing "senior people together to improve understanding and co-operation between the public and private sectors" . Candidates were invited to "complete the electronic application form available on the WIG website" .
Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) requests regarding the ID cards programme
In January 2005, the anonymous author of Spy Blog requested the following information under the FoIA: "The official meeting diaries, agendas of meetings, travel and entertainment expenses" for Katherine Courtney, Stephen Harrison, and the Head of Marketing . After using various delaying tactics, the programme team finally responded to the request in April 2005. They provided only some aggregated expenses for the entire programme. They clamed that the other information asked for in the request was exempt because to release it would make life too awkward for civil servants:
"After a careful consideration we have determined that the information you have requested is exempt from disclosure by virtue of section 35(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000... In applying the exemption to information which Section 35 applies the Home Office has to balance the public interest in withholding the information against the public interest in disclosing it. There is... a real risk that the release of this information would jeopardise the freeness, with which officials will meet to discuss various options as part of the formulation of government policy on Identity Cards." 
The response also claimed that the agendas of meetings would be too expensive to retrieve: "In addition I regret that we cannot supply the full set of agendas for meetings held since September 2001, as to comply with your request would exceed the cost limit beyond which we are not required to supply information. The Home Office is not obliged to comply with any information request where the prescribed costs involved in supplying you with the information exceed £600." 
Known private sector employees working on secondment to the ID cards team
- Joanna Vickers, Shreeveport Management Consultancy, ID Cards Delivery Unit: "Leading solutions design workstream for identity cards procurement" 
Consultancy contracts for the ID cards scheme
|Sirius consortium||Advice on feasibility and costs||27 Sept 2002||£78,724|
|SchlumbergerSema (Atos Origin)||Programme and project management advice||1 Sept 2003||£56,000|
|PA Consulting Services Limited||Provision of project management consultancy||5 Dec 2003||£27,200|
|Shreeveport Management Consultancy||Facilitation of workshops and core proposition development||7 Jan 2004||£43,250|
|Axon Group plc||Proposals relating to human resources||1 March 2004||£28,766|
|Cornwell Management Consultants plc||Assessment of potential public sector delivery partners||30 March 2004||£47,548|
|PA Consulting Services Limited||Provision of management consultancy for the development of the ID card scheme||7 June 2004||£5,716,259 to 1/12/04|
2 Marsham Street
Tel: 020 7035 4848
E-mail: identitycards AT homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
- Andy Burnham
- Atos Origin
- David Blunkett
- ID Cards: The Next Steps
- Identity Cards Bill (UK 2004/5)
- Identix Inc.
- Katherine Courtney
- PA Consulting Group
- Siemens Business Services
- The Whitehall & Industry Group (WIG)
- UK biometrics technology companies
- Home Office: Identity Cards Programme Team. Undated, accessed 22nd September 2004.
- Biometrics 2004 conference programme. Undated, accessed 22nd September 2004.
- NO2ID - campaign against the introduction of national ID cards. Undated, accessed 21 November, 2004.
- Defy-ID - "an adhoc network of groups and individuals who are prepared to actively resist the introduction of Identity Cards and the creation of the National Identity Register".
- Job advertisement: "ID Cards - Head of Marketing, Communities Group Directorate - Home Office". Undated, accessed 22 November, 2004.
- Spy Blog's FOIA requests about the ID cards programme
- Defy-ID's guide to companies involved in the ID card scheme
- "Identity Cards: Consultancy Contracts", Lords Hansard, January 24, 2005, column WA134.
- "Secondments", House of Commons Hansard Written Answers, January 26, 2005, column 390W.
- Philip Johnston, "Blunkett 'jumps gun' on ID cards", The Daily Telegraph, 13 October, 2004. Discusses recruitment of the Head of Marketing.
- David Barrett, "Blunkett Switches Allegiance to Free-Standing Id Card", The Scotsman, 27 October, 2004.
- Andy McSmith, "ID cards for all as Blunkett out-bids Howard", The Independent, 21 November, 2004.
- John Lettice, "BT has 'Big Brother' wobbles over ID scheme bids", The Register, December 30, 2004.
- Alan Travis, Tania Branigan and Rebecca Smithers, "Fast track for ID cards", The Guardian, May 16, 2005.
- Kim Sengupta, "US wants to be able to access Britons' ID cards", The Independent, May 27, 2005.
- Elizabeth Judge and Sam Coates, "Government in ID card talks with firms before Bill passed", The Times, May 30, 2005.
- Andy McCue, "ID Cards on Trial: Minister defends "robust" biometrics", silicon.com, June 7, 2005.
- Matthew Tempest and agencies, "Clarke dismisses report on £300 ID cards", The Guardian, June 16, 2005.
- "Govt tackles ID card resistance", PR Week, January 17, 2007. (sub req'd).