IT suppliers’ organisation Intellect has warned that Conservative Party attempts to warn contractors off the government’s ID card scheme have raised doubts over whether other public sector contracts would be honoured.
Intellect director Nick Kalisperas slammed shadow home secretary David Davis for sending letters to potential ID card scheme contractors warning of the Conservatives’ intention to scrap the scheme if elected and suggesting that companies “may wish to consider carefully the financial viability of any contract, with the present government, to participate in this project”.
Davis’ letter added: “Your company’s reputation is unlikely to be enhanced through involvement in a project, which squanders an enormous amount of public money in this way.”
Kalisperas said: “We don’t believe this is an appropriate manner for the party of business to behave. It’s using the IT industry to score political points and that’s plainly unacceptable.” The Conservatives should not “use the industry as a political football”, he said.
The letter could cast doubts over the ability of a future Conservative government to honour any other existing procurement contracts, he warned. “The Conservatives are effectively saying thy intend to rescind a procurement that may be very far advanced, may be at the implementation stage,” he said. “What guarantees are there that the Conservatives will not also rescind other procurement projects?”
This approach could affect the way suppliers viewed contracting with the public sector, Kalisperas said. He added: “It is also likely to result in suppliers seeking stronger break clauses when they enter into major contractual agreements.”
Meanwhile, prime minister Tony Blair defended the ID cards scheme in front of the Commons liaison committee of senior MPs. The government was not intending to act as “Big Brother”, he said. He told MPs: "The actual information on the identity database is actually what's on your passport, it's not a great deal of information, the average store card has more information."