Greater Manchester is already leading the way in the roll-out of identity cards. The city's airport is working with the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) as one of the first wave of airports which are introducing identity cards to airside workers from this autumn. Launching the service to the public in Manchester will widen the range of people in the region who are using the service.
It will give the public, retailers and service providers a chance to become familiar with the cards as supporting hardware such as chip and pin readers are introduced. Another factor in Manchester's favour is its large population of young people and students. Our research indicates that this group is particularly likely to need to be able to prove their age and identity and are thus likely to benefit from the early adoption of ID cards.
A telephone check to IPS would include the ID card (product) number as well as certain other information on the face of the card. This information would be sufficient for IPS to determine whether such a card was issued and is still valid. Such a check would also require authentication that the requesting party was authorised to make the request, that they were doing so with the card holder’s consent, that the person presenting the card resembled the photograph on the card and that the card showed no obvious signs of tampering. The process for doing this would be very similar to the current Passport Validation Service, but the exact process is still being defined.
As of the end of April 2009, the UK Border Agency had issued over 34,120 identity cards for foreign nationals.
The total estimated cost of the scheme from April 2009 to April 2019 is £379 million for non-EEA foreign nationals. These cost estimates are updated and published every six months in the Identity Cards Costs Report.
The cost of the identity card for foreign nationals is included within the immigration application fee for those in the relevant categories and these fees vary from category to category and can be found in the UKBA website. The cost of replacing a card if it is lost, stolen or damaged is £30 in 2009-10.
The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) is undertaking a range of communications activity with citizens in the Manchester area including:
Established pages on the Direct.gov.uk citizen facing website
To help improve communications around the development and launch of the identity card, IPS launched a website on 6 May 2009. Through the site located at www.direct.gov.uk/identity citizens will be able register their interest in identity cards and the National Identity Service (NIS). Once registered on the site they will receive regular e-newsletters providing help and advice around how to protect your identity, the development of the NIS and the introduction of identity cards.
Planned marketing activity
IPS is working with a media planning agency to finalise the marketing channel strategy for activity in and around Greater Manchester. We expect to be undertaking two campaigns. The first, due to go live during August, will be aimed at businesses in those sectors which are likely to come into contact with identity cards when they are selling products or services. The second, due to go live during October, is aimed at citizens to notify them about the ability to get an identity card in their area and explaining what it can do for them.
Recent stakeholder and communications activity
IPS has met with a large number of stakeholder organisations as part of a continuing programme to inform and consult on the NIS. These have included organisations from the public, private and third sector including the National Union of Students, Universities UK and other organisations representing students. In Greater Manchester in particular we have already met with organisations such as the Learning and Skills Council and the universities. The Home Secretary's speech on the 29 January in Manchester Town Hall was attended by 35 different organisations from Greater Manchester.
IPS will continue our programme of stakeholder involvement to ensure that important information regarding the NIS reaches the widest possible audience. We are planning events in Greater Manchester over the next two months and will ensure that student organisations are represented.
We also send out a monthly newsletter to stakeholders to keep them informed about the NIS and this currently goes to 600 organisations.
Activity with young people
During her recent visit to Manchester, the Home Secretary visited Newall Green School in Wythenshawe to meet young people who could be some of the first to be able to apply for cards from 2010. Together they discussed how identity cards will help young people strike out on their own by opening their first bank account, renting their first flat, or perhaps travelling to Europe for the first time.
Recent media activity
As part of the Home Secretary's recent visit to Manchester, the regional broadcast/print media were invited to attend and film her visit to a local school to discuss identity issues, and undertake interviews with the Home Secretary. We also issued a press notice including a supportive statement from Manchester Airport Group. IPS provided proactive briefings with regional media following the speech.
Local coverage of the event focused primarily on good pieces in the Manchester Evening News and Press Association, which was picked up more widely by local and regional media.
National online coverage was reported by BBC News, ITN Online, Channel Four Online, Eastern Daily Press and a range of global news sites.
Channel M filmed the Home Secretary's visit and Key 103, City Talk and XFM recorded interviews.
The identity card for foreign nationals provides evidence of the holder's nationality, identity and status in the U.K. It provides information that makes it easier to understand the migrant's entitlement, including any right to work or access public services. Taking biometrics, and then locking them to that person's details, provides a very safe and secure way of identifying that person and helps to combat illegal working and reduce illegal immigration to the UK.
The identity card helps businesses:
reduce administrative burden
make it easier for employers, sponsors and others to check entitlements
ensure those who are here illegally do not receive benefits and other privileges of living in the UK.
For the individual it makes it easier to:
provide proof of their right to live in the UK
prove their identity safely and quickly where and whenever this is required
get a job, as potential employers can use the card to check future employees identity and employment status quickly and easily.
The monitoring of these benefits is ongoing and includes a range of different statistical and survey methods.