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The Identity and Passport Service is discussing a round of pilots that use identity cards to join up service delivery.

James Hall, chief executive of the Identity and Passport Service, told GC News the agency is talking to government departments about how the card may be used to support service delivery. He said the move has the enthusiastic support of the home secretary and that the IPS is aiming to run some early pilots.

So far none have progressed beyond discussions, but he likened the plan to last year's trial with the Criminal Records Bureau on using passports and identity cards for online checks on people working with children and vulnerable adults. This showed the potential to speed up turnaround times and reduce data inputting errors.

Using the card as an enabler for joined up services is an element of the Delivery Plan for the National Identity Scheme, published in March. Hall suggested the next step with trials could involve services for young people.

"We're still in the process of thinking through how we might start this with young people," he said. "One possibility is to start in a geographic area, in which case we might talk with the local authority and get them engaged from day one. But there is nothing in detail yet."

He said it is an important element of the plan that will do a lot to promote widespread take-up of the card, but draws a distinction between the use of the card and the National Identity Register (NIR).

"We want people to accept the card as proof of identity from day one, and I'm sure many will do so, but for departments' computer systems to use the NIR as a core source of identification will take years. We're putting in place a piece of national infrastructure for the 21st century, and the full impact will not be felt for five, 10 or 15 years."

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

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