ID and Passport Service uncloaks 2012 online plans

Apply for a Brit passport from anywhere in the world

The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) is to introduce a new online passport application service in early 2012 in an effort to improve its interactions with customers.

In its business plan for 2011-12 (28-page PDF/2.2MB), the IPS says that it will replace its current PASS passport application system with one that will allow customers to apply and pay for their passport online anywhere in the world. For the first time people will also be able to check the status of their application.

"The online application channel will be of particular benefit to customers living overseas, who from 2012 will apply directly to IPS, rather than via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, for their passport," the document says.

The IPS will decide the future of the civil registration digitisation and indexing project this year. So far it has digitised about 50 per cent of its birth, death, adoption and marriage records, and it hopes to digitise the remaining records and place its indexes online by the end of the year.

The service will also focus on replacing or extending a number of legacy systems, and upgrade its main passport database "to ensure it remains as secure as possible". The business plan says these changes will provide the foundation for a wider modernisation of the organisation. As a result of the National Identity Service being scrapped last year, the IPS will look at new technology to replace ageing systems, as well as hosting for its civil registration systems.

The document also reveals plans to share more services in 2011-12, most likely with the Home Office, with which the IPS already shares HR, marketing and some categories of procurement where possible. This will include an increase in the number of shared corporate functions to include finance and the remaining procurement categories.

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

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