BAE and Accenture pull out of ID cards bid

Withdrawal of two systems integrators adds to problems for increasingly controversial national identity scheme.

Miya Knights

Two leading systems integrators (SIs) have withdrawn from the shortlist of bidders looking to run the National Identity Scheme (NIS) framework procurement programme.

BAE Systems and Accenture both confirmed late yesterday they had abandoned plans to run the project introducing ID cards for UK citizen, leaving CSC, EDS, Fujitsu, IBM, Thales and Steria to battle it out for the framework projects.

The move means both SIs will miss out on the £5.3 billion allocated for the scheme, which will be used in the first instance to pay for establishing and managing registration processes linked to a biometric database.

BAE Systems said in a statement: “We withdrew because, at this stage of the competition, our assessment is that our bid would not contain every element necessary to deliver to the customer’s requirement.” But it did say it would continue to monitor the scheme “with interest”.

Shazia Ejaz, Accenture spokeswoman said: “The Home Office is in the process of pulling together a list of companies that will then be eligible to bid for future work packages, which together will deliver the National Identity Scheme. On this occasion, we have decided not to seek to be selected for this ‘framework’.”

Like BAE, she refused to be drawn further on its reasons for withdrawing, but instead added that Accenture remains committed to work on other government projects including the National Health Service (NHS) electronic patient records and picture archiving communications systems (PACS), a customer information system for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the electronic borders programme.

The withdrawals news follows reports earlier this week from the Conservative Party that the ID cards scheme had been delayed by at least three years, until after the next election.