Govt projects proceed despite cost heat

Identity Management and Biometrics project moves into new phase

Major government IT projects are proceeding as planned, despite a change in government and increased pressure on agencies to control costs.

The search for a new ICT system to manage the flow of people and goods into New Zealand, for example, moved into a new phase this month with the issue of a tender for an identity management and biometrics framework to help regulate immigration procedures.

The Department of Labour wants to retain a contractor “to develop an International Evidence of Identity Framework (iEOI) and update Immigration New Zealand’s (INZ’s) Identity Management Strategy (IMS)”.

The Identity Management and Biometrics project is part of the Immigration Business Transformation programme and aims to “improve immigration decision making, strengthen immigration security, and contribute to national identity management outcomes by creating a modern immigration identity management system”, says the tender request.

The IBT will be interfaced with the huge (estimated $120 million) Joint Border Management System (JBMS) involving Customs and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

This is currently formulating its second-stage business case. A request for information (RFI) to potential suppliers for the JBMS was issued a day before the immigration RFI.

The project has always placed emphasis on the potential to save money by avoiding duplication of effort.

In the current depressed economic environment, and under cost-cutting pressures from the National government, the latest documentation again stresses this point.

Asked whether there is likely to be increased emphasis on the project’s money-saving potential in the new environment, Customs CIO Peter Rosewarne declines to comment.

“That’s a matter for government,” he says. “All I can say is we’re proceeding with the project and we’ve not been told to stop.”

Customs is keeping public comment to a minimum other than what’s in the text of the RFI, he says.

Another key part of the overall border management system is the Trade Single Window, which aims to “provide parties involved in international trade and transportation with a single point of submission for compliance-related information to do with the import, export and transit of cargo, and the arrival and departure of commercial ships and aircraft.” TSW and JBMS will be tightly integrated and the TSW project is included in the budget for JBMS.

Customs and MAF are developing the Stage 2 business case jointly and will present the case to Cabinet for consideration later this year. The responses to the current RFI will be used as part of the business case, to demonstrate the capabilities of potential suppliers.

Assuming the business-case is approved, the RFI will by that time have generated a list of suitable suppliers who will be invited to bid for part or all of the JBMS project.

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