FFW drafted in on controversial ID card plans

Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW) has won tenders to advise the Government on two of its largest IT projects, including the controversial ID cards scheme.

In addition to advising the Home Office on the ID cards project, FFW has also won a tender to advise the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) and the Govern-ment Offices on their joint IT services outsourcing project.

The ID cards scheme promises to be one of the biggest IT deals in the public sector, rivalling the mammoth NHS and Ministry of Defence transactions. The introduction of ID cards has already sparked a political furore to rival the NHS deal, which is sure to continue despite the Labour government’s reduced majority after last week’s election.

FFW will need to recruit to cope with the project, which could be valued at nearly £5bn due to the complex nature of the ID card, which is a type of mini-computer that retains all types of information, such as biometric data.

Partners Paul Barton and Nigel Wildish will lead the FFW team on the ID cards project, while head of information communications technology Michael Chissick will lead the team working on the ODPM deal.

The two projects follow FFW’s work on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office IT outsourcing. The firm is competing with Bird & Bird, DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary and Pinsent Masons for the cream of the public sector’s IT work.