Defra invests in ‘identity investigation tool’

Software will provide officials with access to information including electoral roll data, property records, and details of insolvencies

Credit: Piqsels

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has invested in an “identity investigation tool” that can provide civil servants with a wealth of information on UK citizens.

The department has signed a deal with specialist software firm GB Group for use of its ConnexusIQ Investigate product. The contract allows for 15 users to conduct a collective annual total of 4,000 investigations.

According to newly published commercial documents, data that Defra officials will be freely able to access via the platform includes individuals’ addresses and other contact information, current and historical electoral roll data, death records, details of insolvencies, and property information – including ownership, as well as social and private renting.

For extra costs ranging from 5p to £1 per click, other data sets – including a database of UK telephone numbers, credit information, and validation of mobiles, landlines ,and email addresses – can also be accessed using the ConnexusIQ system. 

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The contract runs for an initial term of one year, at a cost of £12,921. Two optional 12-month extensions could take the value of the deal up to almost £39,000.

According to the product’s listing on the government’s Digital Marketplace platform, its technology provides the “largest view of UK population data, dating back 23 years”.

The firm claims that the software can be used to “prevent fraud and criminal activity, locate and contact individuals quickly and responsibly, find connections between individuals that other sources may not find, [and] interrogate an individual’s online identity using social media”.

The company’s other government customers include HM Revenue and Customs, which last year spent £3.2m on a deal through which the tax agency’s fraud and risk experts have been provided with bulk data on UK citizens and businesses.

It is not clear for what purpose Defra will be using the software to conduct investigations.


Sam Trendall

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