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A spokesman for the Identity & Passport Service said, "This is not a problem." He said the IPS will issue invitations to tender next month and expects to award the framework procurement contract in May to four or five prime suppliers.
"Those suppliers can choose to supplement their capabilities with subcontractors, and there could also be other contracts procured outside the framework which other firms would also be able to bid for," he said.
Steria, whose subsidiary Xansa is the Department of Health's partner in the NHS Shared Business Services joint venture, said it would like to be considered as a subcontractor for ID card work.