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Government announces shortlist for ID card contracts

Five stooges sniff the pork barrel

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Updated The government released the shortlist of five possible suppliers for its delayed ID card project this morning.

The five remaining bidders are IBM, Fujitsu, CSC, Thales and EDS.

Originally eight companies - the above along with Accenture, BAE Systems and Steria - were listed. But Accenture, BAE Systems and Steria have all pulled out of the procurement process.

The Home Office have confirmed that the five companies are: CSC, EDS, Fujitsu, IBM, and Thales. They are being invited to sign framework contracts to form a "Strategic Supplier Group". The five will then "compete in a series of mini-competitions to win specific contracts for the various projects."

Given the huge entertainment value of failing government IT contracts running an actual "It's a Knockout" competition sounds like a brilliant idea.

Bill Crowthers, executive director of the Identity and Passport Service, said: “I am very proud of what has been achieved. This contract is both innovative and protective of the public purse and all five suppliers have agreed to provide a co-operative working environment.” The use of the group will mean IPS can carry out shorter procurement processes, it is claimed.

It is likely that CSC will miss out getting to the next stage, getting a framework deal, according toThe Times. CSC has been struggling recently and cut a third of jobs from its infrastructure unit in October last year.

Because of Tory party gains, and their promise to scrap the project, costs are likely to rise even higher because bidding companies must factor in the risk that the project is cancelled.

The IPS also announced that the company which makes biometric passports 3M-SPSL will manufacture the actual cards for airport workers and others who will have to get cards in 2009. Young people will be the next to be targetted in 2010. ®

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