Government ordered to publish ID Card gateway reviews

The government has been ordered to publish OGC Gateway reviews of the National Identity Scheme. The reviews, which are a standard component of major IT programmes in central government, examine the business case and progress of projects. HM Government has tried for four years to avoid publishing the documents in question – so what’s in them that needs to be hidden? We’ll know very shortly.

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What's in them that needs to be hidden? Probably very little - the reviews are assessed as either Red, Amber or Green. Red reviews need to be passed up the chain of command for further analysis, the others can proceed. During the Parliamentary passage of the Identity Cards Bill, there were repeated statements about the Scheme having passed the reviews e.g. 16 Jan 2006 : Column 459 [Baroness Scotland] The review teams have full access to the business case for the identity cards programme. ... . I can announce that, just last week, a further gateway review of the identity cards programme was completed and I am pleased to say that the review team concluded that the programme is in a fit state to proceed. The review team had full access to the business case, both for the setting up and for issuing identity cards and for anticipated uses of the scheme in both public and private sectors 13 Feb 2006 : Column 1207 Andy Burnham The scheme has been through a series of gateway reviews, and I assure him that that directly builds on experience learned from past failures 31 Oct 2005: Column 15 Baroness Scotland Since the previous Bill was discussed, the identity cards project has been through a further Office of Government Commerce review, Gateway 1, on business justification and the review confirmed that the project is ready to proceed to the next phase. 18 Oct 2005: Column 800 Charles Clarke Since the debate on Second Reading, the project has been through a further Office of Government Commerce review on business justification. The review confirmed that the project is ready to proceed to the next phase. As there has been no mention of any Red reviews, they must all be Amber or Green. If all the reviews had been Green, then we would surely have been told about this. Thus, it is likely that some of the reviews were Green and some Amber. The question then arises as to why the Government has fought so long and hard to keep the reviews secret. Another interesting question is how relevant these early business justification cases remain, in light of the 2008 Delivery Plan (and the 2006 Strategic Action Plan) (We have written a short piece on this issue: Balance, scrutiny and identity cards in the UK available at Edgar