Feeds

ID Card costs escape scrutiny

Dobson amendment lets govt. off hook

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Analysis Parliament has scrapped House of Lords amendments that would have demanded strict scrutiny on the proposed ID Cards system.

Instead, the amendments have been replaced with weak controls tabled by Labour MP Frank Dobson, a known ID Card opponent.

Last night's Parliamentary debate repeated concerns that a lack of scrutiny would increase the chances that government and its IT suppliers make a hash of the ID cards system.

The House of Lords proposed (in amendment 70), that the full costs of the ID Card implementation be estimated, the cost estimates be signed off by the Comptroller and Auditor General, that it outline the "material assumptions" on which the estimates where based, and that government state the intended benefits of the system.

While Dobson's amendment (a), requires government to report on the costs of the system every six months to ensure Parliament learns early of any significant overruns, it lacks demands for justification, independent verification, and a statement of anticipated benefits - the kind of safeguards that can ensure a system is properly specified and avoids the changes in specification that can lead to the sort of costly overruns Dobson would like to avoid.

Nevertheless, the debate revealed growing pressure on government to open costly IT projects to public scrutiny. Concerns were raised that secrecy too often leads to billions of pounds of public money being wasted on poorly planned and executed projects.

Calls are being heard for more access to the Gateway Reviews that the Office of Government Commerce, the government procurement sheriff, uses to ensure IT projects do not go awry in their most crucial early stages.

Warnings about the proposed ID Card system have been raised in a Gateway Review, but Parliament has not been given any information about any dangers that may have been identified.

Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland Alistair Carmichael joined Labour's Mark Todd in saying that government fell too readily on the defence of 'commercial in confidence' as an excuse for not allowing proper Parliamentary scrutiny of expensive and troublesome IT projects.

Yet, most of the Lords' amendments were reversed in series of feebly uncontested motions and two votes (314 to 261 and 316 to 257).

In defence of the government's stand against the Lords' amendments, Home Office minister Andy Burnham said a balance must be struck between the need to protect the commercial confidence of IT suppliers and allowing public scrutiny of government spending.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
4chan outraged by Emma Watson nudie photo leak SCAM
In the immortal words of Shaggy, it wasn't me us ... amirite?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.