Tories don black cap for ID cards
Think before you sign, contractors told
The Tory Party has written to firms involved in bidding for ID card contracts and told them to think long and hard before signing anything.
Chris Grayling, shadow Home Secretary, told Radio 4's Today programme that firms should think before committing cash and other resources to bidding, preparing for work or signing contracts. He said he was aware of possible "poison pill" provisions within contracts which might make them difficult to break.
He warned IT firms not to sign long-term contracts for a project likely to be abandoned by any Tory government.
Grayling said he was concerned at hints made by ex-Home Secretary 'Wacky' Jacqui Smith that there were provisions in the contracts to make scrapping the scheme more difficult.
He said it was a costly scheme which the UK could not afford and warned companies to be cautious.
Asked if the ID card scheme had a real future regardless of whether the Tories win the next election, Grayling said there were mixed messages coming from new Home Secretary Alan Johnson.
The relevant clip from the Today programme is here.
The most recent contract win was by money maker De La Rue which will make the cards in exchange for £400m.
IBM and CSC have won contracts for the database and the application process.
The full text of the letter is on the next page.
Cmon people, read the last paragraph..
>>Whilst we do not intend to scrap the programme introducing biometric passports, I wanted to make it clear that we will take an extremely sceptical view of any future contractual arrangements on ID cards that appear to have been put in place simply to tie the hands of a future Government.
That is a threat. They are warning companies, that when the project is cancelled, if any cancellation charges are too generous, it will be remembered.
So any contractor who is expecting double bubble from a cancellation, it will be their end of their Govt work for the foreseeable future.
IIRC The Tories have history with KPMG and DeLorean? KPMG got denied all Govt work until Labour got in, from the way that they behaved over the DeLorean accounts in the 70s.
IANAL, but it seems quite clear to me. You can put anything you like in a contract but that doesn't make it LEGALLY binding. iirc, this goes right back to Dunlop v New Garage (1915): if a party breaks the terms of a contract the other party may be entitled to commensurate compensation. But that party cannot impose a financial penalty on the offending party which is out of all proportion to the losses which the agrieved party has incurred.
This is why the banks are in trouble for insisting that it somehow costs twenty quid or more in administration charges to refuse a direct debit. So I think all the talk of poison pills is probably a little exaggerated ... although I stand to be corrected (why else would I make a posting on this site :-)
GARAGE & MOTOR CO LTD .
"When he gets in he cancels it, refuses liability under Sovereign Immunity."
Interesting idea. I thought this only applies to stuff like Health & Safety for nuclear leaks and ineffective equipment for troops, not contract law.
UK governments have a long history of this. The Concorde SST contract (between UK & French governments) required both parites to agree to terminate. I think this was written under a Conservative (early 60s) administration but a later (mid 70s) Labour government tried to cancel. Which failed as it was expected to.