Research Project

Local Identity: The role of local entitlement cards in public service delivery
17 August, 2007

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A new think tank e-pamphlet argues that councils should consider a ‘local ID Card’ scheme to combat identity fraud and give better access to public services.

NLGN has said that a locally administered ‘entitlement card’ “could be more practical, possibly cheaper and quicker [and] could better safeguard identity” than a national Identity Card scheme.

The card could be used not only as a proof of identity, but also to access a myriad of local services including accessing benefits, public transport and local leisure facilities. The smartcard could also allow council departments to better share information between departments and could also be extended to services such as NHS Trusts and police forces.

The entitlement card system could be accessed by users in a manner similar to internet banking, allowing service users to update their biographical footprint easily online using an account number PIN, password and/or other identifiers. Citizens would thus retain ownership of their identity and ensure that it is not altered without their consent.

In the report, author Victoria Barbary argues:

“Local entitlement cards have a number of benefits to citizens. They would help protect against identity fraud not only by giving local service users an accepted form of identification, but also by ensuring individuals retain ownership of their identity through a citizen’s account”.

“Given the investment local authorities have devoted to improving ICT and expanding e-Government, local entitlement cards could prove more cost effective than a national identity card scheme, and offer a sustainable standard of identification for local public service providers who access an organically-generated user service profile. As such, local entitlement cards would align more accurately with the fragmentary and localised nature of identity, giving citizens a universally accepted form of identification that reflects their own self awareness and individuality”.

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Publication Date: 17 August 2007
Authored by: Dr Victoria Barbary