UK Identity Cards Project at Risk

A whitepaper released a few days ago predicted that the level of business demand for the UK Identity cards System will present a serious risk to project delivery.

Capacitas, a Information and Communications Technology (ICT) capacity and performance specialist has issued a white paper which, for the first time, quantifies the expected business demand for the UK Identity Card service.

The expected demand is 1.2 billion business processes per annum, which is comparable to the NHS National Programme for IT (currently the largest non-military ICT project in Europe). The scale of this demand presents a significant risk to the project as system performance issues are more likely to occur when attempting to meet demand of this magnitude.

Performance issues may manifest themselves in a variety of ways including high end-user response-times and prolonged periods of service unavailability, resulting in project delays and cost overruns. In addition, performance issues are more likely to occur when system development is outsourced.

Danny Quilton, Chief Operating Officer of Capacitas commented, “The NHS National Programme for IT has suffered from a number of high-profile performance issues over the last twelve months. These performance issues have an adverse impact on project budget, benefit and delivery timescales. Given the comparable level of expected demand for the UK Identity Cards System, similar issues are likely to surface in this project.”

The scale of the expected demand also has a direct bearing on the eventual cost of deploying the UK Identity Cards system. While it is difficult to quantify costs, both the level of business demand and the potential extent of the service across government departments points to costs of the same order as the NHS National Programme for IT.