Even your best friend wouldn’t tell you


by David Moss

December 2008


IPS need suppliers to help them to deploy the NIS. Should suppliers bid for NIS work?

Back on 8 November 2007, on the Ideal Government website, 10 problem areas were identified for suppliers to consider. The list of problems has been maintained and has grown now to 32.

The expanded list makes gruesome reading for any chief executive considering a bid for NIS work, and leads to this conclusion:

The question you have to answer is: should you make the investment required to bid for work on the NIS?

Many commercial decisions are difficult.

This isn’t one of them. Where there should be facts, there are only unknowns. It is impossible to build a mathematical model of the investment opportunity from which to derive an internal rate of return.

In theory – elementary economic theory – that should be the end of the matter. The answer to the question is no.

In practice, that is naïve. There are externalities. It may be argued that, by investing in the NIS, your company is being a good, patriotic citizen, helping to counter terrorism, reduce crime and deliver more efficient public services.

That argument fails. There is no reason to believe that the NIS could deliver those benefits. In fact, the reverse is the case. Investment in the NIS diverts resources from effective measures which could achieve those benefits. It is the commercially illiterate IPS who are unpatriotic, and there is no good reason for you to assist them.

So now how sensible does it look to invest in this project? Which sensible chief executive would commit the funds? Why? What return is sensibly to be expected? What price risk?

No-one will work with them. WIBBI* IPS used Lifebuoy?


* 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