We are still awaiting the online publication of the "Dobson amendment" 6 monthly report into the estimated costs of the Government's wretched National Identity Register and ID Card scheme.
The Government News Network Press Release (still not available to the public on the Home Office's tardy press release website, presumably they have faxed their tame journalists a copy already) implies that after 6 months work, by Home Office civil servants and external Consultants, costing the public at least £100,000 a day, the cost estimate of the scheme is still virtually the same as when the dubious, so called, Regulatory Impact Assessment was published i.e. supposedly only £5.4 billion over 10 years.
This figure is only for the Home Office's costs and does include the cost to other Government departments, the private sector, the general public and the cost to our freedoms and liberties.
This is what got watered down by the second rate Frank Dobson amendment, which became the Identity Cards Act 2006 section 37 Report to Parliament about likely costs of ID cards scheme. This is 6 monthly report (already delayed by the summer recess) is only for future estimated spending and is therefore open to all sorts of "creative accounting" tricks, notably blurring the ongoing costs of the new biometric passports with those of the NIR and ID Card scheme.
We await the full report with a moderate amount of interest, as we doubt that it will make things any clearer, even to supporters of the scheme or to the private sector which might be tempted to bid for contracts to implement it.
UPDATE 12th October 2006: The full report,Identity Cards Act 2006 - Section 37 - Cost Report such as it is, is 12 pages of hand waving waffle, and only half a page of actual cost estimate figures
1.4 Cost estimatesi.e. the vast majority of the costs of the scheme are not included in this sorry excuse for a report.
The resource cost estimates of providing passports and ID cards to British and Irish citizens resident in the UK are shown in Table 1 below.
Table 1: Total resource costs of providing Passports and ID Cards to British and Irish citizens resident in the UK for October 2006 to October 2016
Cost area Cost for British and Irish citizens resident in the UK Set-up £290m Operational £5,100m Total £5.4bn
These costs are shown at 2006/07 prices and include provision for optimism bias (as defined by the Treasury Green Book) and contingency.
[small print footnotes ...]
The cost estimate includes:
- The operational costs of issuing passports and ID cards and for providing verification services;
- All estimated Set-up Costs for the Scheme;
- Resource Set-up Cost estimates are shown in the table separately, Capital Set-up Costs are reflected in the operational costs through annual depreciation charges;
- An estimate for the operation and maintenance of the infrastructure;
- £100m of VAT that is unrecoverable to IPS but retained by HM Treasury.
The cost estimate excludes:
- Costs associated with foreign nationals, which will largely be recovered by charging;
- Costs falling to other organisations using ID cards to verify identities. The decision to use ID cards is for each organisation and will be based upon the benefits and costs that fall to each organisation, hence these costs are outside the scope of this report and of the requirements laid down in section 37 of the Identity Cards Act 2006.