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ID card procurement timetable revealed

But tendering process won't start before April 2007

The contracts to build and run the UK's national ID card system will not go out to tender before April of next year, the head of the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) has admitted.James Hall, the new CEO of the IPS, revealed more details on the ID cards timetable when he met with suppliers last week at a meeting hosted by the British IT industry trade body Intellect.At the meeting Hall outlined a number of priorities for the ID cards scheme before the end of this year including the publication of the Home Office's action plan on the direction of the scheme, a review of current passport projects and a review of the structure and capability of the IPS to deliver ID cards. With regards to the ID cards timetable he said there will not be a 'big bang' approach to procurement and that a "current best estimate" for the next procurement activity is April or May 2007. From 2008, ID cards will be compulsory for non-EU nationals living in the UK for more than three months, but Blair said ID cards will not now be issued to British citizens until 2009 at the earliest.