ID cards shortlist agreed

ID cards shortlist agreed

Eight suppliers will go through the next stage of the procurement

A short list of eight suppliers has been chosen for the UK government's controversial £2bn biometric identity cards programme, out of an original list of 11.

The successful firms to go through to the next stage are Accenture, BAE Systems, CSC, EDS, Fujitsu, IBM, Steria and Thales.

The initial procurement is expected to take around nine months and will establish a group of around five preferred prime contractors to bid for future deals to develop and run the scheme.

Individual deals will be let through a series of mini competitions once the framework contracts are agreed. The first are expected to be a replacement fingerprint system and the enrolment application for both passports and ID cards. Both are due to be signed towards the end of 2008.

"We have been pleased with the level of interest shown by the industry and now have a solid core of 'prime' bidders' who will go forward to the next stage of the procurement process," said Identity and Passport Service commercial director Bill Crothers.

"Involvement in the procurement process is not restricted to just the eight companies we have announced today - each prime bidder has their own network of sub-contractors representing a wide range of industry talent," he said.

Over the coming weeks, the eight shortlisted firms will be briefed in detail on the government's plans.

"We will listen closely to their views and take them into account before deciding which companies will be included in the next stage of the procurement process," said Crothers.