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ID card scheme ditches DWP database

Mark Ballard

The Identity and Passport Service is rethinking its ID card scheme after ditching a major design component.

The IPS dropped its plan to use another government database to keep biographical details of identity card holders, one of three core architectural principles established for the scheme in 2006.

A government source told Computer Weekly that the 2006 plan assumed it would be simpler to reuse the Department for Work and Pensions' customer information system for the ID scheme's biographical store.

"But with all of the complexities and security upgrades, it just worked out cheaper to do it ourselves," said the source.

Concerns over the cost, complexity and security of the DWP system, as well as departmental wrangling over its ownership, persuaded the IPS to ditch it in December.

The IPS now faces the prospect of designing its identity card database from scratch, three months after the first ID cards were issued in Manchester on a temporary system produced by Thales.

The IPS had pursued the reuse plan against repeated warnings from its oversight board that the strategy would be technically and organisationally risky.

The IPS said: "No decision has been made on the solution for the biographical store for the National Identity Register."

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