Public Services > Central Government

Home Office Biometrics mulls fingerprint tech procurement feasibility

Neil Merrett Published 18 May 2017

Potential suppliers are being sought to help determine existing marketplace capacity to provide fingerprint devices and capture software for use with frontline law enforcement


The Home Office Biometrics (HOB) Programme has issued a prior information notice (PIN) for a market engagement designed to set out its needs for fingerprint devices, capture software and process management solutions for frontline law enforcement.

As part of plans to award a three year contract for the fingerprint technologies as part of a project called the Strategic Mobile Solution, HOB is seeking to engage with potential suppliers via a questionnaire and then holding potential one-to-one engagements to scope the feasibility and market interest in the opportunity.

Potential suppliers have until June 2 to submit their questionnaires.  The Home Office said it then expects to begin holding discussions on its procurement plans and how they may be amended to ensure a more competitive, higher value process around two weeks later.

Among the market engagement’s core concerns will be trying to understand any concerns suppliers may have about the Home Office’s approach to acquiring fingerprint capabilities for law enforcement, as well as the potential means of avoiding difficulties later on.

Intended to build on informal feedback HOB has already received through previous market engagements, the strategy will specifically look at the current capabilities and capacity, if they exist, in the marketplace to meet its upcoming fingerprint technology needs.

With plans for the Strategic Mobile Solution described in the document as being at an “early stage”, the Home Office is looking to understand what competition there may be in the market, while helping suppliers understand the department’s needs from the fingerprint solution and supporting technology.

According to the PIN, market interest in the potential opportunity is among the key concerns intended to be addressed through the engagement.

The notice has been issued amidst a wider overhaul of how the Home Office undertakes technology transformation.

Last July, former Home Office digital, data and technology officer Sarah Wilkinson was announced as the head of a new combined body within the department that would be undertaking more standardised approaches to information management and technology innovation programmes. Wilkinson is now heading for NHS Digital to be the organisation;s chief executive, with the Home Office now looking for Wilkinson's replacement.

Merging together the Home Office’s digital and technology capabilities, the merger is intended to ensure a more integrated approach to data and transformation.

In a statement released at the time, the department said its digital and technology arms had already worked closely on projects such as online passport renewal, as well as the provision of biometric residence permits and travel documents.

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