The Home Office have announced that PA Consulting are to be the "Development Partner for the controversial ID Card scheme.
The "Development Partner" is not supposed bid for the multi-billion pound rollout and operations contracts
Given the Home Office budget of ?20 million to be spent on ID Cards for 2004 - 2005 mentioned in their Corporate Plan 2004-2005 (1Mb .pdf), then the guesstimates are that this contract is worth up to ?10 million, with a further ?5 million being spent on the Passport Office Biometric trial.
It is not clear if the "Development Partner" contract will actually include any work on pilot projects to test the areas which the Atos Origin (was SchlumbergerSema) Passport Office Biometric trial specifically fails to investigate, such as the scalability of the Card Reader infrastructure, and all the horrendous security and Critical National Infrastructure problems associated with the National Identity Register central databases - "all your eggs in one basket".
Why has the Home Office not made public the results of the Office of Government Commerce "Gateway Reviews" of the project ? Commercial confidentiality cannot be an issue. The public and Parliament need to know what the actual detailed functional specification are, together with the OGC's assessment of the project risks, and the measures which are being taken to prevent Yet Another Government IT Project Disaster, before any vote on the Draft ID Card Bill.
Some idea of the disasterous way in which the Home Office has worked with PA Consulting in the past, on the notorious Criminal Records Bureau systems, was presented as oral evidence to the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons on 15th March 2004.