UK Liberty

When is a consensus not a consensus?

Posted in detention without charge, politicians on liberty by ukliberty on February 26, 2008

When everyone but you agrees with a position.

Q154 Martin Salter: Home Secretary, the consensus building exercise, as you rightly said, is predetermined on people being prepared to move their decision. It appears to me that the Government has moved from a blanket 90 days – a fairly crude position that it failed to get through Parliament in 2005 – to the proposals that you have put before us. Who else appears to have moved their position in this debate in your judgment?

Jacqui Smith: In my judgment, you are right that we have fundamentally changed our position, but nobody else, despite, in my case, quite a lot of meetings, particularly with opposition parties, appears as yet to have moved their position. To go back to the question the Chairman asked, in order to build a consensus you need not just one side of the discussion to move, you need more than one side of the discussion to be willing to engage in that argument.

Uncorrected Oral Evidence on the Counter Terrorism Bill

I think the consensus has been built without her: 42 day detention without charge is abhorrent and unnecessary.

Latest estimate of annual costs resulting from crimes associated with identity fraud

Posted in ID Cards, politicians on liberty by ukliberty on February 26, 2008

In February 2006 we estimated that the cost of identity fraud to the UK economy was £1.7 billion. We are currently engaged in calculating a new estimate based on a new methodology and hope to make an announcement soon.

Meg Hillier (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Identity), Home Office) | Hansard source

As I’ve said on this blog a number of times before, the £1.7bn pa is a discredited guesstimate:

  1. “Government claims that identity fraud in the UK costs £1.7bn a year have been exposed as inaccurate” – or, dare I say it, ‘fraudulent’ – “with the real figure less than a third of that total, a investigation has found.”
  2. Also see SpyBlog.
  3. There is a good Register article on the earlier claim that it costs £1.3bn pa.

Please don’t misunderstand – it could be more, it could be less. But it certainly isn’t £1.7bn for the reasons that the Government gives.  Is that why they are working on a “new methodology”?

ID card and public services

Posted in ID Cards, politicians on liberty by ukliberty on February 26, 2008

there are no plans at this stage to make the delivery of particular public services dependent on the production of an identity card.

Meg Hillier (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Identity), Home Office)

Indeed, because no departments as far as I know have finalised their plans on how they will use the scheme.

So, not knowing that, we don’t know if they will help with:

£20m-£50m of benefit fraud arises as a result of identity fraud (i.e. claiming benefit in false identities).

£1.12m Estimated costs of ensuring that DSA [Driving Standards Agency] is satisfied as to the identity of candidates presenting for theory and practical tests. The resultant enforcement activity in preventing and detecting impersonations, ensuring that only those entitled can hold driving licences reducing the ability to commit identity fraud.

HMRC has identified a number of fraudulent and potentially fraudulent tax credit claims based on false and stolen identities. Some 6,800 fraudulent claims have been identified based on stolen DWP staff identities, of which 4,100 were fully intercepted by HMRC before any payment. The loss from this fraud is estimated at £2.7 million.

(Source: an exercise by the Home Office Identity Fraud Steering Committee (IFSC) to update the Cabinet Office estimate of the cost to the economy of identity fraud. Announced by Andy Burnham, Home Office, February 2006. Download the relevant table as a pdf (80 KB, new window. )

What are the common causes of government IT project failure?

  1. Lack of clear link between the project and the organisation’s key strategic priorities, including agreed measures of success.
  2. Lack of clear senior management and Ministerial ownership and leadership.
  3. Lack of effective engagement with stakeholders.
  4. Lack of skills and proven approach to project management and risk management.
  5. Lack of understanding of and contact with the supply industry at senior levels in the organisation.
  6. Evaluation of proposals driven by initial price rather than long term value for money (especially securing delivery of business benefits).
  7. Too little attention to breaking development and implementation into manageable steps.
  8. Inadequate resources and skills to deliver the total portfolio.
    Source: Office of Government Commerce