Thursday, 11 July 2013

2½ marks out of 4 for IPS

Open letter to Alastair Bridges, Executive Director Finance, Identity & Passport Service (IPS), 21 October 2010:
You seem to have left Globe House. That’s a good first step on the road to recovery. Time now for a name change, get rid of the word “identity”. Make a clean breast of all the biometrics nonsense. Your Chief Executive has an MBA from the London Business School. She must know that GMAC tested flat print fingerprinting for two years and then dropped it, it’s not reliable enough. GMAC didn’t even bother to test facial geometry, everyone knows it doesn’t work and it must drive you mad at IPS having to pretend that it does. Give yourselves a break, for goodness sake, the nightmare of pretence is over ...

Why does a passport cost £77.50 and not £23? If there’s no good reason, then, as part of your re-launch, along with your new name and address, the renunciation of biometrics and the defenestration of PA, how about putting the price down? Demand would go up and, who knows, IPS might be welcomed once again into communion with your fellow human beings.
Home Office press release, 13 May 2013:
The agency for renewing passports is changing its name to reflect its changing role and official status.

A new name has been given to the agency which produces all UK passports – HM Passport Office ...

Departure from Identity cards

The inclusion of ‘Her Majesty’s’ in the title recognises that passports are the property of the Crown, bear the Royal Coat of Arms and are issued under the Royal Prerogative.

It also marks a watershed moment in the agency’s departure from its association with the National Identity Service and ID cards.
Name change? Yes.

Price reduction? Yes, although not to £23, only to £72.50, a lot further to go.

PA Consulting defenestrated? Yes, for the moment.

Renunciation of biometrics? No. The charade continues.

And what, you ask, of Sarah Rapson, Chief Executive of IPS as was and Registrar General for England and Wales? Another day ...

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Updated 16.9.14

The campaign to reduce the price of UK adult passports began on 21 October 2010, please see above. At the time, they cost £77.50, instead of their natural price of £23. From 3 September 2012, the price fell to £72.50. Not enough.

Now the Home Affairs Select Committee wants a further reduction of £15 – Passport office ‘should cut prices, not make a profit’: "The government should stop exploiting the public by making almost £15 profit on every standard passport it issues, a parlimentary committee recommends in a report published today".

That would get the price down to £57.50. Another £34.50 to go before contact is once again made with Planet Earth.

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