Orders of the Day — Identity Cards Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 28th June 2005.

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Photo of Charles Clarke Charles Clarke Home Secretary 3:31 pm, 28th June 2005

I will not give way again. I am going to make progress on the point about the capacity to run major projects made by Mr. Leigh. There are a lot of easy jibes of the type that he made, and I want to begin by giving the example of the Passport and Records Agency—an organisation that has issued 6.1 million passports in the past year, that has 47 million records across the country and that, as is very well known, had major problems in 1997, which caused concern throughout the House.

Only this year, the Comparisat benchmark survey, run by FDS International, surveyed a wide range of organisations based on their customer satisfaction and what was going on. Number one on that list was the UK Passport Service, which was followed by Asda, eBay, Amazon, Virgin Mobile, Morrisons, Tesco, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, the Post Office, Boots and ScottishPower. I cite that example because it demonstrates that major public service projects, and even Home Office public service projects can, through investment in technology for massive schemes, beat the world—both the public and private sector—in the service that they offer to people. That is a tribute to what can be done.

I can cite other examples. The UK information technology industry is currently rolling out the introduction of chip and PIN in stores and shops throughout the country. The project involves 42 million consumers who hold more than 140 million credit and debit cards, 3 million retail staff in stores throughout the country and more than 250,000 bank branch and call centre staff. That massive project is being carried out well.

The Department for Work and Pensions payment modernisation system means that 22.5 million accounts are now paid by direct payment. The scheme was completed on time with less expenditure than was initially anticipated, and it will save more than £1 billion over the next five years. The same is true of NHS Direct. All those examples demonstrate that the public sector in general, and the Home Office in particular, has the capacity to undertake such major projects. Of course the projects must be well managed, and I could produce a list of private and public sector failures, but it is important to get a balance on the whole situation.

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Alan Taylor
Posted on 1 Jul 2005 5:44 pm (Report this annotation)

So if the same or similar disasterous start to the ID card IT system happens as did in 1997 to the passport system then every criminal in the world could easily have every British Subjects every detail. It is extremely frightening given that our current government leaders seemingly still do not listen to the grass roots of the country but only hear what their advisors decide to tell them. Most of these advisors seemingly are university qualified political researchers whom have not known the 'real' world of the British public, and many are our future politicians - gawd forbid!