The Identity and Passport Service has defended the "red" traffic light status given to an early Gateway review on the ID Cards scheme.
Its defence comes after the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) yesterday published two Gateway reviews of the Identity Cards programme, following a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
The Identity and Passport Service says the released Gateway reviews "acknowledge the good work that was done to ensure the successful development of the National Identity Service - good work which continues to this day".
"The first review, from June 2003, was produced before the Government had announced its response to an extensive consultation or its decision on whether the Scheme should proceed.
"As a result, not all of the preconditions required for Gate 0 had been fulfilled resulting in a red status being awarded. The OGC noted however, that "this outcome should not be viewed as a criticism"
A red status does not mean a project should stop, but indicates that there are actions that need to be taken quickly before it can move onto the next stage of delivery, it said.
The first review concluded that the programme - then called Entitlement Cards- should be reviewed again when the preconditions for Gate 0 were satisfied. This review took place in January 2004 when reviewers awarded the project an "amber" status.
The Identity and Passport Service said that it took action to "address all recommendations outlined in the 2004 Gate 0 review".
The Service will begin to issue identity cards to airside workers in autumn this year. It began issuing ID cards to foreign nationals in November last year.
From 2012, "high volumes of identity cards" will be produced alongside passports.