Feeds

Home Office seeks spin doctor to sell cuddly ID card brand

An ID card says something about a man. Oh yes...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

The Home Office is hiring a head of spin in order to sell ID cards to the British public, despite the fact that it has not yet published the response to the "consultation" earlier this year, and has yet to put a bill before parliament, far less get parliament to pass it. Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman Mark Oaten has cried foul to both the BBC and Telegraph (registration required, life's too short), but while it's nice to see MPs starting to notice that the Home Office regards them as a tiresome formality, it's not exactly news.

Read the Consultation and Draft Bill published earlier this year and you'll have trouble working out what it is about the scheme that's still available for consultation, as it's so obviously something the Home Office intends to happen come hell or high water. And the elusive pilot scheme questions are quite obviously about trying to improve the experience of registering, nothing to do with whether or not you want to.

But the job ad is interesting (applications in by Friday please) because it tells us quite a lot about how the government is going to pitch the scheme, and what it's going to cover. For starters, note that the ID Cards Head of Marketing post will be part of the Communities Group Directorate, and if you look at the Home Office's directory structure here you'll see that this is predominantly the touchy-feely units, while the heavy squad is organised under the Crime Reduction and Community Safety Group. David Blunkett's quest to make the ID scheme a widely-popular instrument of social cohesion and commerce is well known, and the Head of Marketing will have to sell this vision.

The job will include "responsibility for all aspects of positioning and promoting ID cards and ID card services to its customers and stakeholders" and: "During the passage of the Bill, this will include communications with Ministers, MPs and others." So as you see it is absolutely wrong to say the Home Office is going ahead with the scheme without bothering about MPs. On the contrary, it seems to be hiring somebody to sell them it. Isn't that political lobbying?

And "the programme will involve contact with delivery partners, major users of the scheme (such as the Health Service and Police) and with members of the public." Why would the Health Service be a major user of the scheme? Well, because healthcare will be conditional on production of an ID card, of course.

The most recent consultation, such as it was, finished in July, but it would appear that a form of consultation more familiar to government spin doctors continues. Organisations with an interest in ID cards, both favourable and unfavourable, will need to have their views and concerns "understood and managed". Broadly, however, the Head of Marketing will develop a "Marketing Strategy" (note the capitals) "covering the vision for the scheme, its positioning and branding". and there are plenty other examples of marketing bollox: "defining the customer experience and behaviours to support the brand", "Coaching and developing staff in marketing/sales/distribution concepts and best practice", and in the essential skills section "Developing the marketing strategy for a new product/service. Particularly relevant is experience of universal services intended for all customers (including hard to reach and 'difficult' customers who cannot be turned away)"; "Developing and implementing strategies for new brands, advertising, public relations and communications" and "Driving demand and encouraging take-up".

Compulsion is of course a wonderful encouragement to take-up, and possibly fertile ground for ID scheme campaign slogans. "Your identity - lock it down before we lock you up" or "Difficult customer? We get all sorts in here, sir..." or "Know who you are. We do." Or even just "Don't leave home without it." Snappy, that one. ®

Related stories

UK ID cards to be issued with first biometric passports
Biometric gear to be deployed in hospitals and GPs' surgeries
UK gov pilots passenger tracking in fight against terror
Tag, track, watch, analyse - UK goes mad on crime and terror IT
Everything you never wanted to know about the UK ID card

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.