We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Gov't refuses to publish ID Card reviews

Chief whip demands confidentiality

The UK government's chief whip in the House of Lords has underlined ministers' refusal to publish ‘gateway reviews’ of its controversial £5.3bn ID cards scheme.

Last month, the government launched a high court appeal against a ruling by the Information Tribunal that the reviews carried out by the Office of Government Commerce should be published in line with requests made under the Freedom of Information Act.

The ID plan is set to come under even greater scrutiny when Gordon Brown takes over from Tony Blair as prime minister - a transfer of power that is expected to produce shifts in controversial areas of government policy. As Brown prepares to move into Number 10, James Hall, head of the Identity and Passport service confirmed that procurement for the plan has been delayed, saying it was "not quite ready yet”.

But in response to a debate on government IT projects initiated by Conservative backbench peer Lord Lucas, the government's representative, chief whip Lord Davies of Oldham, restated opposition to making the review information public.

"In the government's view, disclosure would seriously undermine the effectiveness of the gateway process, as confidentiality is essential to the whole process," he said.

Lord Davies added: "The process is a crucial management tool to improve the success of the government's projects and programmes. In our view, it is just not in the public interest to put that effectiveness at risk by disclosing the information in the two reports in this case."

The chief whip acknowledged that his response would "disappoint nearly everyone who spoke in the debate”, but said a balance had to be struck between "the undoubted merits of openness about the government's actions" and areas where "very delicate confidentiality issues" were involved.

IDG UK Sites

Android M / Android 6.0 UK release date and new feature rumours: Android M live video stream -...

IDG UK Sites

Why I think the Apple Watch sucks and you'd be mad to buy it

IDG UK Sites

Ben & Holly's Game of Thrones titles spoof is delightfully silly

IDG UK Sites

Jony Ive 'semi-retired' into new role: kicked upstairs as Chief Design Officer