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Government will invite ID system bids in May

The Home Office will call for bids for the first two pieces of work on the National Identity Scheme in May 2008.

The Home Office will call for bids for the first two pieces of work on the National Identity Scheme in May 2008.

The call for tenders for a biometric database and the application and enrolment operation will be issued as soon as the government finalises the participants in its framework procurement agreement, which is expected by May, a Home Office spokesman said.

On 19 October, the Identity and Passport Service shortlisted eight firms for a framework agreement to supply the National Identity Scheme infrastructure: Accenture, BAE Systems, Computer Sciences Corporation, EDS, Fujitsu, IBM, Steria and Thales. The Home Office said it might trim this list in ­December.

Home Office accounts show the government spent £31m on the National Identity Scheme last year. Estimates of the 10-year cost of the scheme and electronic ID cards, which are due to be phased in from 2009, rose £65m in six months, due mainly to VAT.

The government's estimate of the cost of the system was £5.56bn in May 2007. This was later revised to £5.37bn. According to figures presented to parliament on Thursday, the estimated cost has risen to £5.43bn. However, the London School of Economics has put the cost closer to £14.5bn.

The money will come from the Home Office budget, which will rise from £9.8bn to £10.315bn between 2008 and 2010. Spending will be managed by the Identity and Passport Service, with major investment expected to start from mid-2008.




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