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Identity Card Scheme

Volume 458: debated on Monday 12 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what progress has been made in tendering the contracts for the (a) refurbishment and (b) construction of the regional offices required to administer the national identity card scheme; (113898)

(2) what the locations are of the regional offices required to administer the national identity card scheme.

The Identity and Passport Service currently has no plans to set up further regional offices in addition to the current seven regional passport offices, in London, Newport, Peterborough, Glasgow, Durham, Liverpool and Belfast. An expanded local office network is already being put in place in order to meet and interview first-time applicants for passports and to prepare for recording biometrics. This office network consists of 69 offices throughout the UK, in the following proposed locations:

Aberdeen, Aberystwyth, Andover, Armagh, Barnstaple, Belfast, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Birmingham, Blackburn, Boston, Bournemouth, Bristol, Bury St. Edmunds, Camborne, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Cheltenham, Coleraine, Crawley, Derby, Dover, Dumfries, Dundee, Edinburgh, Exeter, Galashiels, Glasgow, Hastings, Hull, Inverness, Ipswich, Kendal, Kilmarnock, Kings Lynn, Leeds, Leicester, Lincoln, Liverpool, London, Luton, Maidstone, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Newport, Newport (Isle of Wight), Northallerton, Northampton, Norwich, Oban, Omagh, Oxford, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Reading, Scarborough, Shrewsbury, Sheffield, St. Austell, Stirling, Stoke-on-Trent, Swansea, Swindon, Warwick, Wick, Wrexham, Yeovil and York.

The network will be supplemented by remote interview sites for remote communities, where applicants will conduct their interview by video conferencing. The contract for this office network was awarded in early 2006 to Mapeley, and the offices are currently being leased and fitted out for use by IPS.

These offices will open in 2007 and the network will subsequently be used for the National Identity Scheme. Where the network of enrolment centres needs to be further expanded, we will first seek to use high street offices that are already used by central and local government. We will also look at options for the private sector providing outlets and any contracts will be tendered as appropriate.