You and your cost report


by David Moss

November 2008


"So they’re getting cheaper”, said Winifred Robinson. That was a few weeks ago on Radio 4’s You and Yours, the consumers’ champion, heir to the great Esther Rantzen’s That’s Life!.

If fingerprinting is outsourced, a billion pounds comes off the Home Office’s budget for ID cards. Yes, Winifred, but that doesn’t make ID cards cheaper. The fingerprinting still has to be paid for. By you and yours.

Following Winifred’s logic, if all IPS services were outsourced, the NIS wouldn’t just be cheaper. It would be free. Can anyone believe that?

WIBBI* IPS’s cost reports made it a lot clearer that they cover only the Home Office’s costs?

There are other costs. And we have no idea what they are. We don’t know what we’re letting ourselves in for.

WIBBI* IPS’s cost reports included estimates of these other costs?

The latest cost report has just been published. The Home Office NIS budget for the next 10 years is £4.785 billion.

WIBBI* editors everywhere stopped referring to the NIS as “the £4.785 billion system”? It isn’t. It might be “the £20 billion system” for all we know.

£4.785 billion is the estimated cost for the next 10 years. But how much has been spent so far? And on what? We have no idea. We were all born yesterday.

WIBBI* the cost report included a brought forward figure for costs to date and analysed it into its various components?

When David Blunkett launched his July 2002 consultation paper on entitlement cards, the Home Office cost was estimated to be between £1.318 billion and £3.145 billion. That budget covered three years of setup costs and 10 years of operations. Today’s £4.785 billion is more than three times as high as Mr Blunkett’s £1.318 billion.

WIBBI* journalists investigated the trebling of the Home Office budget?

WIBBI* they stopped reporting that the Home Office budget has come down? It hasn’t.

Honestly, Winifred, it hasn’t. Think what would happen to the BBC if they reported a trebling of the licence fee as a reduction. Time to do some championing.

* WIBBI = wouldn't it be better if

David Moss has spent six years campaigning against the Home Office's ID card scheme.

2008 Business Consultancy Services Ltd
on behalf of Dematerialised ID Ltd