Home Office to bring together police and immigration biometrics schemes ahead of potential move to public cloud

Written by Sam Trendall on 10 January 2018 in News
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Department seeks supplier to bring IDENT 1 and IABS programmes under single service-management structure in project worth a possible £300m

The Home Office is to unite its police and immigration biometrics programmes under a single service-management structure ahead of a potential move into the public cloud. The project will be worth up to £300m-plus to whichever supplier is chosen for a contract that could last for 10 years.

The Home Office has two core biometrics programmes: IDENT 1, which is used to store and analyse fingerprints and other biometric data related to crime and law enforcement; and the Immigration and Asylum Biometrics System (IABS), a database containing facial and fingerprint information and digital documentation relating to people seeking visas or asylum in the UK. IDENT 1 is managed by US defence company Northrop Grumman, while IABS is overseen by IBM.

A prior information notice issued this week revealed that the Home Office now “intends to procure a single service-management capability for the IABS and IDENT1 systems, developing a strategic and central bureau platform” for its entire biometrics programme. The department is looking for one supplier that can bring the two schemes under a single management structure while also delivering “some service improvements” into the bargain.


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Once these initial goals have been achieved, the Home Office may then look to move data out of datacentres currently used by IDENT 1 and consolidate data from both programmes so it can be stored and managed in just two of IABS existing datacentre facilities. Beyond this, the department may then seek to migrate both programmes and their data “into a public-cloud hosting environment”. 

The chosen supplier may also be asked to deliver the “transformation of the highly distributed physical deployment architecture for [the central] bureau to a centralised and virtualised solution”. 

The Home Office will award a contract for an initial period of six years, with the option to renew for two further two-year terms. The estimated worth of the deal for the first six years is £198m, rising to £308m if the engagement lasts for the full 10 years.

The bidding process is expected to commence on 28 February, when a contract notice is scheduled to be published. 

The contract “will require suppliers to operate at Official, Official Sensitive and Secret classifications”, the Home Office said. Once it has been awarded, staff involved in designing, testing, and delivering the management platform will need to obtain security clearance from both the police and the Home Office.

 

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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