Tuesday, July 11, 2006

That pesky IT again

The Government's shining example of an IT project that has worked seems to have run into trouble again:
The Home Office's Passport Service has trumpeted its 99.9% performance record for processing passports on time but later conceded that it has hit major problems with a new online service, and is asking people to revert to paper for making passport applications.

Delays in issuing passports, arising from problems with EPA2, a new electronic passport application service, were confirmed by the Home Office only after Computer Weekly presented officials with detailed information on the difficulties.

Initially, when asked about its performance on issuing passports, the Passport Service told Computer Weekly that its target for processing 99.5% of applications within 10 days was "actually currently being exceeded" at 99.9%.

But it failed to mention until pressed that the online service had problems, that staff had reverted to using EPA1 - the system EPA2 was supposed to replace - or that some applicants were in danger of having to cancel holidays.
Oh, and another quick one:

The Youth Opportunity Card, which will give teenagers across the country access to various discounts and services, could be delayed. The scheme was announced by chancellor of the exchequer Gordon Brown in March. Mr Brown said that he wanted to give 13 to 19-year-olds access to services and discounts on the high street...

However, the pilot scheme, which is due to begin in September, may not start on time because local councils don't have the technology to implement it.

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