Monday 7 April 2014

RIP IDA – long odds

No need to say it, it goes without saying, it should be obvious to all but, just in case it isn't obvious to all, IDA is dead.

IDA is the Cabinet Office Identity Assurance programme. And it's dead.


Last Friday the Government Digital Service (GDS) announced that they would be issuing a new invitation to tender for identity assurance work (IDA), please see Identity assurance, procurement 2.

As noted, it looks as though enrolment into IDA would cost 35 times more than GDS previously told us. £30 million was meant to pay for 21 million putative registrations. In the event, it will cover only 600,000 putative registrations.

In a typically clear-headed assessment published in Computer Weekly magazine, Toby Stevens describes the difficulties GDS face with IDA. He also examines the position of suppliers considering a bid. Should they try to become "identity providers" (IDPs)? He has this to say:
... an IDP would need to run a population of 250,000 users in the first year just to have a chance of breaking even. That's going to be a problem for stretched Sales Directors who are evaluating bid risks and trying to determine where to focus their sales resources. Why bid the high-risk job with the deferred payback, when they could go for safer projects with up-front payment ...

I think I’d rather put my money on a 5-horse accumulator than an IDP bid team.
No board is going to sanction betting on the horses as a business development strategy. The equity analysts wouldn't wear it. Neither would the shareholders. The directors could kiss goodbye to their careers.

Nevertheless, the salesmen will probably turn up to the 28 April 2014 "event for interested organisations". That's what salesmen do. Quite rightly. It promises to be a re-run of the 20 September 2010 meeting, please see Identity assurance. Only the future is certain – doom 1.

GDS didn't exist then, back in September 2010. They do now. But it remains the case nevertheless that investing in IDA is akin to betting on the horses. Toby Stevens says: "GDS has a track record of delivering 'impossible' projects". He is a kinder man than DMossEsq. "Impossible" means impossible. RIP.

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