back to article IPS ditches e-passport system

The Identity and Passport Service has written off £10.8m in dropping a scheme for electronic passport applications. The management board of IPS has decided to abandon the electronic passport applications (EPA2) scheme, which it started in 2005 and opened in May 2006, according to the agency's annual report (pdf). The system, …


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  1. Dan Meineck
    Thumb Down


    I wouldnt want to be in Siemens Business Services right now...

  2. Lyndon Hills


    <quote>IPS will work with customers and industry groups "to define the market requirements for new identity checking services".</quote>

    Surely there is NO requirement, at present? Once the government has passed a few new laws, there may then be a requirement.

  3. Rob


    I want a breakdown of those assets they've written off!

  4. Dan
    Thumb Down


    So, correct me if I'm worng, but all the system really achieved was to save you a trip to the post office to collect the required forms, and allow you to pay the fee?

    And for that, we paid £10.8 million quid?

    And we're supposed to believe they could come up with an National Identity Register, ID cards, readers, enforcement etc for anything less than a trillion gazillion pounds?!

    They really are having a giggle at our expense.

    An icon with a stronger more aggresive negative connotation is required.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    data on ditched hardware

    ... obviously they are not going to put these written off servers and desktops in a skip with all their lovely passport application data still on them in an unencrypted format...

  6. Mike Taylor


    This article seems a little confused (although it might just be me). The service that lets you fill in data that results in a form that is then posted to you is still working - just used it last week, the passport turned up this morning. Presumably the thing that was cancelled was a set of enhancements?

    So the description: "The system, which cost £10.8m, allowed applicants to fill in forms and pay online, although these still then needed to be printed, signed and sent physically with old travel documents and photographs." - can't be accurate - or does it just refer to the "pay online" bit, I don't think that's currently possible

  7. Steve Woods

    To misquote scripture...

    Well done thou useless and expensive public servant.

  8. Joe K

    Completely ridiculous

    I fell for this when i needed a passport. Great, i thought, online applications, that should be quick.

    No, all that does is fill out most of the form for you, then you have to wait for it in the post, just sign the thing, then send it back within a short timeframe or say goodbye to your application.

    What a complete waste of time, getting an app pack from the Post Office and sending that off to start with would have saved a week, paper, and postage. Never mind ten million.

  9. Rob

    it's just depressing, really.

    Especially as all they really needed to do was put a few pdfs with fillable fields on a web server somewhere.

    Which would have cost them (ie us) sod all.

    And which would have been pretty good, in terms of privacy, as all the data would be saved locally on the user's machine, preventing it from being left on a train or in a taxi, or posted to some guy in St Petersburg.

    And which is something which the USA's IRS, BCIS etc have been doing for years, incidentally.

    Christ! I'm depressed now.

    I'm off to lie down in a dark room.

    (a different Rob than the one who said Grrrrrr...... )

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    only today

    I was reading how 700million quid is lost to benefit theives... well... how about we let the thieves have there 700million quid, and the government stops wasting our money on this technoneofascism.

    At 700million quid stolen by thieves, as opposed to an ID register scheme what... 3billion minimum? Probably closer to 7billion in the end. Add to that the olympic cash hole (another 8 probably 13billion in the end) both ignoring interest. So basically pissing at least 11billion pounds up the wall. At least the thieves all use the cash to get drugs or something. All we'll get is a dysfunctional computer system and some buildings that'll be condemmed in 20 years time.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Worked for me

    I used the online service last time I renewed my passport (couldn't b bothered with Post Office queues). Filled in the forms online (about 10am), they arrived through the door the next day and I had my passport less than a working week later.

    Must have been a glitch in the system.

  12. Eddie

    Only £10.8m

    to develop a website to fill in a form and take a payment, damn those low-budget developers - I'd want at least £25m for such a complicated project. Maybe I can interest the local council in a one-page static html for £100k?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. EPA1?

    The key difference in EPA2 was that it actually captured the data in the forms as it was entered online and performed some fairly extensive validation which was then fed back to the customer.

    In EPA1 all the forms still had to be printed, posted, scanned and processed fairly manually whereas this step was largely skipped in EPA2. The customer only had to print out and send some small supplementary forms, normally to do with sending and certifying a photograph.

    The intent was to automate as much of the process as possible resulting in a faster turnaround. Unfortunately this intent foundered on the rocks of inappropriate technology selection and insufficient testing.

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