ID card spending doubles to £56m

The new Identity and Passport Service is gearing up for biometric passports, residence cards and ID cards

The new Identity and Passport Service will spend £56m on setting up the controversial ID cards project this year.

The IPS was created on 1 April, bringing together the Home Office ID cards programme and the UK Passport Service to issue passports, ID cards and other biometric identification documents.

According to the new agency's business plan, it spent £25m on the ID card "set-up" in 2005/06 and has a budget of £56m in 2006/07 as the project takes shape.

The document also reveals the priorities for the agency over the next 10 years.

Short-term plans include completing the rollout of the new ePassport with a biometric chip during the third quarter of 2006.

In the fourth quarter of this year, 600,000 first-time adult passport applicants will be required to attend a personal appointment at one of a new network of 70 offices to prove their identity.

A facial recognition system will be rolled out to all IPS Regional Fraud Intelligence Units by the end of 2006.

The IPS said it will trial taking fingerprints next year as a second passport biometric.

It said: "We anticipate piloting the recording of fingerprints as a second biometric from volunteers in late 2007." This will be followed by the introduction of a UK passport with both facial and fingerprint biometrics.

Following the launch of biometric passports will be the biometric residence passports, followed by the rollout of the second biometric passport and then finally the ID cards themselves, due in 2008/09.

A supplier reshuffle is also on the way as a result of the ID cards scheme, the agency said: "Over the next few years IPS' existing partnership arrangements with service providers will continue. However, over the life of this plan, contracts with service providers will be subject to re-tender before planned contract expiry dates.

"The change programme will involve large-scale procurements from 2006 to obtain support to help build the infrastructure and deliver the services required to operate the National Identity Scheme. Any changes to existing contracts as a result of these procurements will be negotiated separately as necessary."