The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is fighting an order made by the Information Commissioner’s Office to make public a report it has written into the feasibility of the proposed national ID card scheme.
Like all government departments, the DWP was asked to draw up a secret report into the costs, benefits and risks of introducing ID cards in terms of its business.
The DWP is responsible for the distribution of welfare benefits and the government has indicated that those refusing to carry an ID card will be cut off from such benefits.
The DWP’s refusal to comply with the Information Commissioner’s release request has therefore caused controversy.
Liberal Democrat MP Mark Oaten made a request for the information to be released under the Freedom of Information Act, but was refused the information by the DWP.
The Commissioner has backed Oaten, but the DWP is now appealing that decision.
The Commissioner said the public interest in releasing the report outweighed any factors for keeping it secret.