House of Commons - Explanatory Note
Identity Cards Bill - continued          House of Commons

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Clause 44: Scotland

219.     Subsection (1) provides that the use in relation to Scotland of the Register or an ID card is authorised only in matters which are reserved or which are in accordance with an Act of the Scottish Parliament.

220.     Subsection (2) ensures that regulations may not be made under clause 15 which allow or require the imposition of a condition on the provision of a public service in Scotland except where it is in relation to a reserved function. Separate legislation by the Scottish Parliament would be required if, for example, it were proposed in the future to require an ID card to be produced as a condition of accessing a devolved public service in Scotland.

221.     Subsection (3) provides that nothing in this clause restricts any of the provisions of this Act authorising information from the Register to be provided. For example, provision of information to the police in Scotland under clause 19 or for verification with consent under clause 14. This clause also does not restrict the powers under this Act to make other provision authorising such information to be provided to a person in Scotland (for example, regulations may be made under clause 22(1) to permit information to be provided to the Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages for Scotland).

Clause 45: Short title, repeals, commencement and extent

222.     This clause allows the preceding provisions of the Bill to be brought into force by order made by the Secretary of State. Different parts of the Bill may come into force on different dates.

223.     Subsection (5) provides that clauses 38 and 39 (amendments relating to passport fees and data-sharing powers for passport applications) shall come into force two months after the Act is passed.

224.     Subsection (4) clarifies that this includes a power to enable roll-out of the scheme to be undertaken by geographical areas; and that a trial may be undertaken in relation to particular areas or persons. This subsection includes a power to make transitional provisions for between the trial stage and the full commencement of the scheme.

225.     Subsection (6) provides an extension power so that clauses may be applied to the Channel Islands or to the Isle of Man via Order in Council.

226.     The Bill extends to Northern Ireland (Subsection (8)).

Schedule 1: Information that may be recorded in Register

227.     Schedule 1 sets out the information that may be recorded in the Register. This includes:

  • personal information - names, date and place of birth, gender, addresses;

  • identifying information - photograph, signature, fingerprint, other biometric information;

  • residential status - nationality, entitlement to remain, terms and conditions of that entitlement;

  • personal reference numbers - for example the National Identity Registration Number and other government issued numbers, and validity periods of related documents;

  • record history -information previously recorded, audit trail of changes and date of death;

  • registration and ID card history - dates of: application, changes to information, confirmation; information regarding: other ID cards already issued, details of counter-signatures, notification under clause 13(1) and requirements to surrender an ID card;

  • validation information - information provided for any application, modification, confirmation or issue; other steps taken in connection with an application or otherwise for identifying the applicant and verifying the information; particulars of any other steps for ensuring there is an accurate entry in the Register; and particulars of notification of changes;

  • security information - personal identification numbers, password or other codes, and questions and answers that could be used to identify a person seeking provisions of information or the modification of an entry; and

  • records of provision of information - how and when any information from an entry was provided to any person or body.

Schedule 2: Repeals

228.     Repeals can be found in Schedule 2 of the Bill.


229.     The initial start up costs will be met from existing Departmental budgets or charging.

230.     Costs will build on the development of biometric passports which will be essential for international travel and hence incurred in any event. At our current best estimates, £415 million will be the annual cost of issuing biometric passports by 2008/09, the additional annual cost of issuing ID cards is estimated at £85 million annually. The indicative charge for a combined package of 10 year passport and ID card would be £85. 1

1 Estimated at 2004 prices and excludes contingency.

231.     It is intended that, when the scheme is established, overall running costs will be covered by a combination of charges for applications, issue of cards, identity verification services provided by the scheme and for related services such as accreditation.


232.     A new Executive Agency, incorporating the functions of the United Kingdom Passport Service (UKPS) and working closely in conjunction with the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) of the Home Office in respect of foreign nationals will be set up to administer the scheme. A National Identity Scheme Commissioner will be responsible for the oversight of the whole scheme.

233.     In 2003-04, UKPS has 2,762 staff. It is likely that there will be an additional staffing requirement for the new Executive Agency. The programme of feasibility studies will contribute to the evaluation of the requirements for additional staffing. No decisions have been taken as to whether any additional manpower will fall within the public sector.


234.     A regulatory impact assessment has been published alongside the Bill.

235.     The Bill as drafted places no burdens on business, charities or voluntary bodies. There are no provisions in the Bill which will allow the Government to require business, charities or voluntary bodes to make identity checks using the identity cards scheme. The required identity checks power relates only to public services.

236.     Should the Government propose any new requirements through other legislative vehicles for business, charities or voluntary bodies to require identity checks or to incorporate the identity cards scheme within existing requirements to undertake checks, the Government will produce and publish regulatory impact assessments relevant to the sector(s) affected. An example of where this has already been done is the RIA produced when revised regulations on identity checks for foreign workers were published earlier this year.

237.     The costs of the scheme are outlined in paragraphs 228 to 232 of the Explanatory Notes. In general the benefits of the scheme fall into the following categories:

  • More efficient processes;

  • Removing duplication of functions;

  • Reduced fraud;

  • More convenient access to services;

  • Improved enforcement of immigration controls;

  • Enhancing the UK's ability to counter terrorism and organised crime;


238.     Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires the Minister in charge of a Bill in either House of Parliament to make a statement about the compatibility of the provisions of the Bill with the Convention rights (as defined by section 1 of that Act). The statement has to be made before second reading. The Secretary of State for the Home Department has made the following statement:

    In my view the provisions of the Identity Cards Bill are compatible with the Convention rights.


239.     Commencement of clauses 38 and 39 relating to passports is two months after the Bill is passed. Apart from commencement of the false identity document offences at clauses 27 and 28 which would be sooner, the remainder of the Bill will be commenced in time for the issue of the first ID cards starting in 2008. There may also be different dates when parts of the Bill come into force so that trials of the scheme and an incremental roll-out may take place.

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Prepared: 29 November 2004