back to article Ruling: Gov reports into ID scheme must be disclosed

The Information Tribunal has ruled that Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for internal government reports into the cost-effectiveness and feasibility of the planned National ID Card scheme should be granted. The reports in question, thought to be critical of the ID scheme, have thus far been withheld. In a decision …


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  1. Jimmy Floyd

    Now come on...

    What a ridiculous notion. Forcing the ruling party to explain unpopular and unproven policies to the public undermines the very tools of government! This didn't happen with the Iraq war; why should it happen with ID cards? If the public wanted to know this sort of thing they'd have gone to Oxbridge and become civil servants. Moreover...

    Oh, I'm terribly sorry. I appear to have turned into Sir Humphrey Appleby.

  2. Psymon
    Black Helicopters


    I get the feeling from their reluctance to release these reports that this could seriously put the boot into the ID card scheme.

    Another nail in the coffin. The sooner this intrusive white elephant is killed off, the better

  3. Anonymous Coward

    in due course

    "We are currently assessing the detail of the Information Tribunal’s decision and will respond in full in due course"

    Double-speak for "we are currently ignoring the decision and will respond with further holding-pattern gibberish if forced to by threat of imprisonment. Meanwhile we are working hard to get an amendment tagged onto some utterly unelated bill currently on its 3rd reading through the Houses of Sheepliment so that we can bury these embarrassing reports for 70 years. Nyah Nyah."

  4. 3x2

    More interesting

    <...> but with names of interviewees redacted. <...>

    Would be to see what else is redacted. I'm off to Ladbrokes now to put my money on 25% black paragraphs. The ones starting with .. cost .. tiered access .. private sector involvement ...

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Knowing this government

    They will just conveniently ignore the ruling. Just like they have done with proper censure over Phorm and the decision that the DNA database is unreasonable. This government is just completely out of control. We see it time and time again - how about Cannabis at class C or Ecstasy at class A? The IMF about unsustainable borrowing. Vive la revolution.

  6. Steve

    But will they listen?

    I wouldn't lay any money on us seeing those reports within the 28 days.

  7. Ian

    Why is the government so persistent with ID cards?

    Most governments would give up when the entire opposition, their entire citizen base are against them and when the economic situation is so harsh there's just no money to spare and when they're proven to be problematic and unworkable.

    What is it about ID cards that makes the government feel they have to pursue them so hard? I mean they've given up other things in the past but on this one they seem to be not willing to give up on the idea no matter what the cost.

    It is for that reason I think their motives for ID cards really do run much deeper than they suggest, whether it's backhanders from companies they'll award the contract to or something even more sinister that has me concerned about ID cards over anything else.

    I've never seen a government department fight quite this hard to keep up a scheme in spite of so much opposition and so many problems.

  8. Martin
    Paris Hilton

    Why withhold the reports

    Does anyone really believe what these 'spokepeople', wheeled out to supress information, again, which is released by the courts, again, say. Anyone? Even themselves?

    So why supress the reports. Ohaybe as my £5 says they they will not work in the stated manner. the reports will undboubtably provide the same level of advice as the drug advisory bodies. eg Solid factual advice the Government will completely ignore as it acts as if it rules by some kind of "Devine Right" where it can do no wrong and anyone who disagrees is stupid, even if they are an expert.

    Another nail in the coffin of iD cards? I Hope so.

    Paris because she returns things that are unfit for purpose.

  9. dervheid
    Thumb Up

    We all know why...

    the OGC logo is one of the world's most apt!

    Just how much dosh has been wasted chasing this around the tribunals and courts?

    Must be potentially a show stopper I guess!

  10. Mo

    The real question is…

    WHY doesn't this set a precedent, and—more importantly—why wasn't this enshrined in law from the outset?

    What's the point in feasibility studies if the Government are free to ignore them?

  11. Adair Silver badge

    Dreams are free, or £20 billion, but who's counting?

    HM Civil Service have wanted 'ID Cards' for years. They were trying to persude the last Tory govt. to bring them in, and have probably been trying to have them reinstated pretty much ever since they were abolished in that famous case (memory outage), back in the late forties.

    Modern tech. just makes the whole concept (wet dream), of sexy streamlined all embracing efficiency intolerably attractive to the civil service mind, not to mention the political front of house and the commercial parasites and scavengers that feed off the whole pile.

    Forget conspiracy theories (though I'm sure there are a few that could be fished out), go for the 'cock up' theory of government first time every time, then and only then look for darker motivations.

    [we really do need a steaming pile of poo icon]

  12. Martin

    @ Ian

    "I've never seen a government department fight quite this hard to keep up a scheme in spite of so much opposition and so many problems."

    Fox Hunting.

  13. dervheid

    @ Martin

    What about the Poll Tax?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Why is the government so persistent with ID cards?

    Becouse it makes people easier to pursue for tax.

    Also makes it easier to keep uptodate lists of peoples movements and actions.

    Makes you easier to find once they determine you're someone that the powers that be dislike.

  15. Eponymous Cowherd
    Black Helicopters

    Re:Why is the government so persistent with ID cards?

    Because of the Implants our Lizard Overlords have placed in their brains.

    No, really.

    I can't think of any *rational* reasons for them to continue with their suicidal, election-losing, policies. So that leaves us with the barking-mad conspiracy theories.

    But then, I suppose, "rational" and "Politician" have never sat well together in a single sentence.

    Doubly so for "rational" and "Labour Politician".

  16. Kevin Johnston Silver badge

    @Ian, @Martin, @Dervheid et al

    But apart from that, what have the Romans ever done for us

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They'll just slip in the Coroners bill

    Like the dirty pictures ban, or the 'ISP liability for everything clause', they'll just slip a clause in the Coroner and Justice bill to keep it secret.

    Or perhaps another boring administration bill that they hope nobody will notice. The 'Coroners, Justice and Enabling Act' bill perhaps.

    From my viewpoint, it was just an ID card, it's done everywhere, I have one (not British obviously), I don't object to it, because it's not a mechanism of mass surveillance, it's not biometric and so remote matching cannot be done against my biometrics, it's not electronic, if I choose not to show it to someone then they don't see it. In theory I have to carry it everywhere, in practice I don't and nobody really expects me to. My rights to services are not preconditioned on some flag in a database somewhere.

    So why did it become such a control mechanism in the UK? Why did is become such a huge expensive electronic surveillance net? And why did Blair push it through the EU during the UK presidency then pretend he had to implement it because the EU was making him do it?

    Why did it become such an awful oppressive thing in the UK?

  18. Anonymous Coward

    It's a moot point...

    That it will actually stop anything releasing these documents. A lot of the ID card stuff is actually tied up in treaty obligations for full biometric passports, and as it's not compulsory anyway, what are you winging at.. If you don't want an ID card don't have one, but you won't be able to leave the UK. Most of the studies on how much it will cost have totally ignored that, I doubt ID cards themselves will actually cost that much when compared to the costs of the full biometric passport.

    Oh, and for those of you who haven't already noticed, a lot of things already require you to use your passport as ID, in some places you need to show an NHS entitlement card to get treatment, and so on, so a citizenship card isn't really that big a deal.

  19. N Silver badge

    Regulations for Gordon Clown & Co?

    Cant see the point with this shower, they have difficulty organising a piss up in a brewery

    I vote for a steaming pile of poo icon,

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo


    > I vote for a steaming pile of poo icon,

    4th in from the end of the second row, as my icon. Some sort of halo on a turd

  21. Nebulo

    I'll believe it when I see it

    Only 25% black? Their hearts are more than that..

    And another vote for the steaming pile of poo icon.

  22. RW

    @ Eponymous Cowherd

    Asked he: "Why is the government so persistent with ID cards?"

    There's actually an answer to that question. It's because the coppers, who always favor police state tactics (they are, after all, police), have the ear of the Home Secretary, and have had for a long time.

    Last year, there was passing mention in some news article of just which cop sits at the Home Secretary's right hand but foolishly I did not write the name down.

    A favorite author of mine once wrote about police, and how if given their head they will soon start thinking they are in charge and that the rest of the citizenry should kowtow to them; further, that to avoid this, the police must always be under the thumb of a no-nonsense, suspicious magistrate (sc. Home Sec.) who keeps them on a very short leash.

    Unfortunately, the UK has had very weak Home Secretaries under NuLabour, people too ignorant and spineless to tell the police to fuck off with their insane schemes. But what else do you expect when the Home Secretary is a retread school teacher who clearly cannot distinguish right from wrong?

    I am currently reading a history of World War II by Calvocoressi, and was mildly startled to read that the Nazi regime used "anti-social" in a criminal context to justify their oppression (and in many cases killing) of their political enemies. A bell rang, and the letters ASBO floated in the air.

    Jacqui and Gordon don't have the faintest clue that their totalitarian instincts are in fact profoundly contrary to the ideals of freedom that the UK once honored.

  23. Matt
    Black Helicopters


    "What is it about ID cards that makes the government feel they have to pursue them so hard?"

    It's just one step closer to the chip they want to insert in your head so they can track your every movement, control your ability to purchase things etc etc.... and restrict that movement if you so much as blink an eye in the wrong direction at the wrong time (yes they'll be able to track you blinking too! :D)

    ... I have my tin-foil hat on - you got yours? :D

    bh for obvious reasons...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Police want a Police state

    I would disagree with the comment regarding the Police wanting a Police state.

    I would say that the previous incumbent of the top slot was more politician than cop, and that he did the Police Service a great harm.

    However, most of the rank and file coppers I know don't want this.

    Also Stalin's biggest crime catch all was 'Antisocial', way before Hitler stole it off him.

    Whilst it is right a proper that we need to prove who we are, having a single, over arching form of ID, coupled with an intrusive level of personal detail (which for me is the deal breaker) is just not on.

    Yes it's voluntary now, but it's think end of the wedge time. Once a state has this level of data on it's citizen's, nothing short of a revolution will change it.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC Why did it become such an awful oppressive thing in the UK?

    Well, they never really sold it as having any real advantage, plus, they are not trusted.

    Now, no government is really trusted, but this one has caused so much distrust in the last ten years

    that there is no wonder people are opposed to it.

    Other EU countries have ID/medical/license cards and accept them as the norm, these are usually republics who's citizens who actually have some backbone to do something about situations they disagree with.

  26. b

    @It's a moot point...

    Well you're either a troll, a labour cabinet minister or are woefully unaware of the facts of this issue.

    Hell you could be all three.

  27. John Watts

    Moot my foot AC

    "... A lot of the ID card stuff is actually tied up in treaty obligations for full biometric passports, and as it's not compulsory anyway, what are you winging at."

    I have a biometric passport. I quite like it and I've used the biometric recognition to get out of Stanstead Airport. It was great. It's also my choice to have one.

    More importantly, it's not simply a form of identity (although as one it's probably the best but as flawed as any other form of ID - see previous Reg articles).

    The inside cover of my passport says this:

    "Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State requests and requires in the name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary"

    The ID function is secondary to the meaning of the passport - the ID part proves my entitlement to the passport which is there to allow me free passage through foreign states - the passport isn't there to prove my identity.

    Having said that, I might start to carry it with me at all times. I'd like to see the look on a copper's face when I quote that at him or her if they try to stop me from taking photographs. Especially since they technically answer to HM and not HMG.

    My passport is already sufficient ID if I need ID for anything. Being in my thirties I shouldn't be ID'd to get into a pub; so far I've not had to but I've seen people older than me ID'd on the way in.

    That starts to sound compulsory to me. It's conditioning people to accept being ID'd as normal.

    One of the greatest things about being British is that I don't have to prove me identity just because I'm on the street. I have nothing to hide and so there's no need to compel me to identify myself - I'm not a criminal and I'm not wanted so proving my identity to a copper serves no purpose.

    That's the flaw in the 'nothing to hide' 'argument' - it shifts the presumption of innocence.

    "If you don't want an ID card don't have one, but you won't be able to leave the UK."

    I'll just use my passport thanks very much. See above for the difference.

    "Most of the studies on how much it will cost have totally ignored that, I doubt ID cards themselves will actually cost that much when compared to the costs of the full biometric passport."

    I refer you to the above point, viz. the function of a passport is not that of an ID Card.

    "Oh, and for those of you who haven't already noticed, a lot of things already require you to use your passport as ID, in some places you need to show an NHS entitlement card to get treatment, and so on, so a citizenship card isn't really that big a deal."

    Even if you don't have a passport you're still entitled to whatever services require confirmation of your identity.

    A passport happens to be a convenient way of asserting identity. If it's not possible to prove your identity through means other than a passport then it's impossible to prove your identity to get a passport. Furthermore, I don't have an automatic right to a passport - the state can withdraw that right if it so chooses.

    That doesn't entitle the state to withdraw my right to leave the country - I just no longer have the state's protection if I choose to do so.

    One of Iraq's crimes against humanity was restricting people's right to leave Iraq. I might have a hard time leaving the country and a harder time when I arrive wherever I'm going, but if things have reached that stage then it's likely that I'd be claiming asylum anyway.

    So, you see that a 'Citizenship Card' is a big deal. Other European countries are cited in the arguments for ID Cards in that 'they all have them'. They've also had dictators in the last 70 years and the ID Cards are simply a hangover from then.

    Finally, the implication of a 'Citizenship Card' is that if you don't have one, then you're not a citizen. That's the creeping horror which those of us who understand what it is to be British fear.

  28. MYOFB

    Shouldn't we be chanting . . .

    . . . "If you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear"? at the OGC, Guvmint, MP's, Councillors and anyone else involved in the:

    Enigma, wrapped up in a riddle, inside a conundrum that represents all shades ands habits of the political and media "professions"?

    Or is that me being a little too cynical!!??


    'Really . . . I thought I was being realistic . . . Ho-Hum!!'

  29. John Smith Gold badge

    Fighting the IRA, 10 years too late. With a massive NIR

    As far as I can tell all the senior M15 Mi6 and and GCHQ civil servants who want it entered their services in the early to mid 1970s, All are Oxbridge graduates, 2 with PPE (Same as our believed Home Sec) and the GCHQ bod read Theoretical Physics.

    They lived through the period when the IRA were most active. I would not overestimate the sense of powerlessness they would have had as yet another bang was heard somewhere and their growing, deepening conviction (as they were told to do something about it) that we could win this one if only we knew all there was to know about everyone in the country at all times.


    Not being encumbered by any doubts that it might be grossly impractical due to the size, complexity or just palin stupidity they have pursued this ever since.

    So what if no soldier has been killed since 1997 and the IRA have disbanded.

    "There's always an enemy, Steed. You just have to know where to look"

    As for ID cards. They persisted till 1953 when a PC asked for to see it and the fellow said no. WWII ended 8 years ago. PC or man in question was a Mr Plunkett IIRC.

    And let me remind our european neighbours. Its not an ID card as *you* know it. Yours says "I am an official government document. I say this is Jacque Smidt and he lives at 123 Rud De Cockup. And you can check I'm legal because of my special number which is ****"

    Ours has a National database hanging off it. wih 50 seperate items including current names, addresses, driving license and passport numbers and all fingerprints. Dates when they were entered. Names of anyone who sponsered you. Dates when you tried to get it changed etc. Complete with substantial fines if we fa

    And of course the last item on the bill.

    Any other information the governmet wants to add.

    Supposedly £30 each it ssems that foeigners in the trial area of Swindon are being charged c£395 with a 30 day wait or £595 for the fast track service.

    Mines the one with a copy of the Avengers DVD in the side pocket

  30. Armus Squelprom
    Thumb Down

    @ AC Moot Point

    "as it's not compulsory anyway, what are you winging at.. If you don't want an ID card don't have one, but you won't be able to leave the UK...."

    Erm....... you don't see any contradiction in this?

  31. P. Lee Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    @dervheid re: Poll tax

    Thatcher was a peace-loving, loony-leftist defender of the common-man compared to these people.

    She also didn't make the method used to put down farm pests a "constitutional crisis."

  32. ElFatbob

    re: moot point

    i suspect that it was people who thought the same way as you, that swelled the ranks of the SS & Gestapo in Nazi Germany....

    Glad not to be in any of the deviant groups identified by the regime and actually quite supportive of their aims.


  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The OGC, the information comissioner's office are creations of the government.

    This ZanuNuLabour government will find a way to suppress the information, if the information goes counter to their policy.

    We'll wait and see what happens, but I predict the government is going to fight this one tooth and nail.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    dish the dirt

    Can any one dig up any of Wacky Jacqu's former students and colleague teachers and dish some dirt on her? Was she any good as a teacher? I just can't believe she could have been.

    I'm just trying to figure out what makes her tick..she doesn't seem to have the common sense or intelligence to understand the issues such as privacy and "what part of No don't you understand?"

  35. Luther Blissett

    @Why is the government so persistent with ID cards?

    In increasing order of importance:

    1. Recurrent revenue stream to the IT-boys and IT-girls from maintenance of the system and data,

    2. Recurrent revenue stream to the banksters who fund the government budget deficits incurred in spending on ideas whose madness is exceeded only by their cost, and whose utiltity to the public Good (pace John Stuart Mill) is in inverse proportion,

    3. Recurrent reinforcement of the myth of the Social Order - of the peasants oppressed by barons. Times change; the "peasants" get new names, as do the "barons", as does the connotation of "oppression" - but The Song Remains The Same. The song cannot/will not/must not change until the "peasants" realize they are free to make and sing their own songs.

  36. Jonathan McColl

    Read 'Whisky Galore' ...

    ... where the woman on the wartime train wouldn't show her pass to the police because Hitler wasn't in charge here. I've been banging on that it isn't really the Lab/Tory/whatever Government that wants these Identity Documents but the civil-service government that wants it to keep us all tidy.

    The police caught the two idiots who tried to burn down Glasgow's airport by tracking their car's number plate along the motorways, so that shows that they can work efficiently without pass laws to force us to show our Papieren Bitte.

    As a family-history researcher I make huuuuge use of the 10-yearly census returns from the 19th century: the government wanted those to track demographic shifts, not individuals. But now we can do national databases that give the kind of analysable detail that Tesco's Clubcard gives that organisation. I think the government interest starts 'innocently' enough from there, but it gets up my nose because of the potential for abuse it will give to so many people from a traffic warden to a celeb-hunter to a would-be Stalin.

  37. John Smith Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Diary note 23/3/09. 25 days to go.

    @ MYOFB

    "Shouldn't we be chanting . . .

    . . . "If you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear"? at the OGC, Guvmint, MP's, Councillors and anyone else involved in the:"


    General point.

    Extraordinary proposals (and extraordinarily expensive) proposals for anything should have extraordinary detailed cost/benefit analyses to back them up. That should include the assumptions, which can make a very big difference.

    As victims of $40bn hedge fund frauds should know by now if the benefits seem too good or too consistant to be true they probably are.

    Incidently given our Home Sec's deep committment to this scheme has she got her's yet? Perhaps she could have 2. One for Westminster with "Ms Smith" and one with "Mrs Timney" for home. Whever that is.

    The Government Interception Modernisation Programme does not even seem to have one of these done in the first place.


    No need to know. No need to ask.

  38. Gerry

    Not so much Jarndyce v Jarndyce

    Another way of looking at this case is to collect it it together with Ofcom's attempts to make things difficult.

    The Information Manager for Health Protection in Scotland, in the course of some epidemiological investigations it was conducting involving electromagnetic radiation, asked Ofcom for some information it published on "Sitefinder" concerning location, ownership and technical attributes of mobile phone cellular-based stations, to be provided in searchable format.

    Ofcom refused, they persisted.

    Ofcom's internal review of its decision agreed with itself. But this was challenged.

    Ofcom asked the ICO to agree, they didn't

    Ofcom appealed to the Information Tribunal, it lost

    Ofcom went to the High Court, it lost

    Ofcom tried again in the Court of Appeal, they threw it out.

    The underlying argumentation in both cases appears to be similar, a preference for lack of transparency, whatever the issue.

    Of further concern, whereas Jarndyce v Jarndyce consumed private money, this is essentially Govt v Govt with the taxpayer picking up the tab.

    You might have to subscribe...

  39. Jimmy

    NuLabour - over and out.

    The government's reluctance to release this information into the public domain is perfectly understandable because it will reveal,among other things, the results of the cost-benefit analysis they are obliged to carry out prior to the introduction of any major new legislation.

    On the cost side of the equation the numbers are unquantifiable; just think of a number and divide by four to sweeten the pill. In the course of time reality will assert itself and the original estimate will be multiplied by a factor of between 4 and 6.

    As the alleged benefits of the card have been trotted out and demolished one after another by the informed criticism of experts, they have had to revert to full-on NuLabour authoritarian mode whereby trifling things like evidence, expertise, and common sense are cast aside in favour of political dogma.

    Authoritarian governments move in incremental steps: today, the card and tomorrow the legal requirement to produce it at the demand of any jumped up jobsworth who feels like it.

    But I'm sure we will never, ever be in danger of any kind again if only we carry our little plastic tokens with us everywhere we go.

    On the other hand we could choose to exercise our democratic right to collectively shove our tokens up NuLabours arse via the ballot box so that we don't have to put up with any more of their shit.

  40. MYOFB

    Transparency . . vs . . Opaqueness . . .

    . . . vs . . . Darkness.

    1. Transparency:

    I see you, you see me, in amongst our modesty. I see the sea just like thee, in amongst our modesty. We see the sea together.

    2. Opaqueness:

    I see you through lowering cloud, You see me through a gathering crowd. I see you, you see me, regardless of our modesty. Can you see the sea?

    3. Darkness:

    I see you, though it's difficult now. Can you see me, through that sacred cow? I think I see you but can you see me? I can't see the sea and neither can we!!

    If only we had our modesty!!

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @Moot Point AC

    "If you don't want an ID card don't have one, but you won't be able to leave the UK."

    Umm, I don't need one to leave the UK, this government says I do but in actual fact, I don't. It's FUD. My passport is not a biometric one, nor does it have an RFID chip embedded in it and I have no problem leaving or returning to the UK.

    Of course, I might have a problem getting into the 'land of the free' (how ironic) but I don't want or need to go there anyway.

    'I doubt ID cards themselves will actually cost that much when compared to the costs of the full biometric passport.'

    Utter bo**ocks, I can choose if I want a passport or not, if NUStasi get their way I won't have a choice about the ID card and it will be at my expense one way or another. You can bet that all the private companies that have their noses in the trough are expecting a massive pay day out of all this.

    "Oh, and for those of you who haven't already noticed, a lot of things already require you to use your passport as ID"

    The only places I have *ever* been asked for a passport or official photo ID is either at immigration and nuclear power plants. I have never been asked for it at any of the MOD research places I visit. (hence the AC)

    "in some places you need to show an NHS entitlement card to get treatment"

    Nowhere I have ever had medical treatment has ever asked for any kind of ID apart from my dentist who only wanted my debit card and I don't think he'd have mistaken me for Edward Elgar or Adam Smith if I'd paid in cash.

    "so a citizenship card isn't really that big a deal."

    You are a moron, either that or a NuLabour apparatchik (possibly one and the same thing).

    Let's be generous and say that you're dangerously naive.

    It's a *huge* deal, the privacy implications alone are massive.

    Whilst I 'don't have anything to hide' even I can see the intrusion into everyone's daily life is utterly wrong and it leaves a very unpleasant taste.

    Anyone who voted for this bunch of stasi wannabes should be very ashamed with themselves.

    The only saving grace is that they are so utterly fucking incompetent that the database will collapse in smouldering ruins about three minutes after it's gone live, if they ever manage to get it to the point where they can switch it on.

    Paris... rant over, time for some stress relief.

  42. John Smith Gold badge

    24 Days to go. But also

    @Mo The idea of a "Gateway" review was to avoid further costly government IT project cock-ups by getting people to state what the real issues, risks and costs were going to be. If the level of risks or investment is too high (or unknowable) the project should get the red light.

    I'm not if there is a legal requirement to conduct such a review in the first place or if its legally binding so disclosure rules are arguable. As they have been for the last 2 years. The OGC view was its "Commercially sensitive" information. But to whom. If the price figures are for an HMG project then we (the UK taxpayer) are paying for it anyway. And if one supplier did say we can do it for say 10% of what everyone else is shouldn't that be viewed as especially suspicious? Was it NIRS II that most suppliers wanted to use a mainframe, one offered client/server cause the hardware and licenses would work out cheaper but with v. limited C/S development experience with the usual over due /over budget result?

    but this is starting to look like the new BS for what was Official Secrets or the other old favourite "The National Interest." However I think FOI guidelines are that anything which isn't Secret or above should be available. It will be interesting to find out what else has been re-dacted.

    Note Unlike the US govt I don't think we cap profit margins on Govt contract. We ask about the price (to HMG), not the cost to the supplier.

    US Govt rules are also that US Govt contracts can be cancelled *instantly* with *no* penalty clause. Compensation *may* be paid if Uncle Sam is feeling generous. These factors which make US Gummint con-tractors a funny breed of US business, with specific staff or subbies (lobbyists) to "inform" the relevant Con-gress persons and Sinators of how vital their particular company / programme is and why it would be mad to cancel it.

    Contrast this with the the UK cancellation clauses, which I suspect the suppliers (and possibly the government) have built into all of these rubbish IT database contracts as a poison pill. "Naturally Minister I would recommend cancellation of the xxx project but the cancellation charges are yy% of their project operating budget over the next z years, roughly ??? billion"

    A Bill which made such poison pill contract clauses illegal in Govt. contracts might be dull as ditch water but should kerb all sides enthusiasm for gradious change-the-nature-of-the-universe (without including a staff re-training budget or schedule). Now that would prudent


    ."This ZanuNuLabour government will find a way to suppress the information, if the information goes counter to their policy"

    As they have been trying to do for the last 2 years.

    However IIRC 2 years ago they were expecting the nationwide roll out of ID cards to be well along. Delay the report and its irrelevant as the roll out is a done deal. Except a) This is a govt IT mega project b) A lot of people who think about it for 1 minute don't like it c) Whatever Sir Humphrey and his chums think the front-line staff may feel they have been lumbered with more crap d) Just possibly not all senior civil servants are sold on the idea either (it could be true)

    @P. Lee

    "Thatcher was a peace-loving, loony-leftist defender of the common-man compared to these people"

    I never liked her but note this. Thatcher's degree was Natural Science, specialising in Crystallography. She went on to re-train as a barrister (this is the early 1950s).

    I'm sure some civil servants (possibly the same ones whispering in the current Home Secs ear now) proposed the idea.

    If she believed it would have seriously hampered or destroyed the IRA or other Republican groups we would be carrying them now. But being a grocers daughter (or having a numerate degree take your pick) she checked the figures. How may deaths Vs how much cash and how many more civil servants her govt was going to pay for. The numbers would show you could buy a lot of information and ammunition for that system. It was a waste of money then and its a waste of money now.

    "She also didn't make the method used to put down farm pests a "constitutional crisis.""

    I found a rat in the kitchen of my flat.

    I could have rounded up my neighbours, charged through all the rooms and when we caught it popped it in the microwave for a bit of innocent fun.

    Instead I did what we town folk call phoning the Environmental Health office and had a man come out to lay poison. Found rat dead a couple of days later. I buried it by stuffing it down nearest sewer cover. Its what its relatives would have wanted.

    In the UK around 3-5% of the population are in farming. We don't really do the part time (and expensive to support )farmer of France and Germany. Pest control is not a sport or a bit of fun. Its a job you hire someone to do or learn to do yourself.

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