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Blue passports, French service provider: Atos bags £21m UK Passport Office deal

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The UK's Passport Office has awarded a £21m contract to Atos IT Services purportedly for business intelligence and infrastructure.

The initial term of the deal is for two years, with the opportunity to extend for a further three years. The estimated value of the contract is for the maximum five years.

The deal is part of Her Majesty's Passport Office's Digital Future Services programme and has been awarded from Crown Commercial Services Technology, which takes a 1 per cent fee on contracts it facilitates.

A contract award notice said the spending under the contract would "be via short, specific work packages for the support, maintenance and development of... applications and services."

In 2017, a government IT transformation report said the Passport Office's paper-based case working system would become completely digital. It said checks would be automated where possible and be "supplemented by extensive use of data analytics."

To be introduced by 2020, the new initiatives were intended to save the taxpayer more than £80m. The same document said the Passport Office would "make greater use of the data it holds, offering data verification services more widely to the public, private sector and other parts of government to combat identity fraud and protect citizens."

In June last year, Sopra Steria was appointed by the Home Office to build a system to validate and digitise passport application forms and supporting evidence. The five-year contract added to an 11-year relationship between Sopra Steria and HM Passport Office. HMPO awarded DXC a 10-year deal in 2009.

The Passport Office serves more than 8 million customers each year and handles registration of key life events such as births, deaths, marriages, and adoptions in England and Wales through the General Register Office.

Around 85 per cent of eligible UK residents currently hold a valid passport. ®

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