Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Questions (671, 685)

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

671. Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if there is to be a role for scanned photographs within the SAFE process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12526/13]

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Clare Daly

Question:

685. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will ensure that scanned photographs will be allowed as an option in the provision of new driving licences in order to protect jobs in the photo ID professional industry and avoid a monopoly situation in capturing images. [12910/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 671 and 685 together.

The Standard Authentication Framework Environment (SAFE) was designed by the Departments of Finance and Social Protection in order to provide a system of standards and guarantees for identification of persons.  The Deputy may wish to ask my colleagues the Ministers for Finance and Social Protection if he wishes to have further information on the details of SAFE.

I take it that the reference here is to the fact that SAFE standards are incorporated in the new National Driver Licensing Service under the Road Safety Authority (RSA).  The RSA ran a tender competition for front office services for the new system.  While I had no role in this process, I understand from the RSA that it was open to tenderers to propose how best to capture images in conformity with SAFE requirements, and that all tenderers proposed digital capture.  The contract as awarded therefore includes this element, and any departure from it would mean having to compensate the winning tenderer for changing the process, as well as running a less than optimal process for the duration of the contract.  In the case of photo capture for driver licensing, therefore, the question of leeway within the SAFE structure is academic.