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Fujitsu hosts faith group consultation to discuss ID card implementation issues

Fujitsu Services, in association with the Faith Community Consultation Consortium (FCCC) led by the Hindu Forum of Britain sponsored and hosted four workshops on the Government-proposed identity cards programme.

February 02, 2005

The first private and voluntary sector collaboration of its kind

Fujitsu Services, in association with the Faith Community Consultation Consortium (FCCC) led by the Hindu Forum of Britain sponsored and hosted four workshops on the Government-proposed identity cards programme. Members from eight major faith groups participated in these regional consultations organised in an informal environment, to openly share views and discuss areas of concerns on the introduction of identity cards.

All views and concerns the Government may face on the issue of identity cards, including recording and reading of biometric data as well as verification of information held on the National Identity Register, will be presented as a formal written response to the Home Office, who provided input to the workshop material. The response will be launched as a public document at the House of Commons on 14 March 2005 .

Home Office minister for citizenship, Des Browne said, "The identity cards scheme will provide a 'gold standard' to protect everyone's identity and ensure that people can access the public services to which they are entitled. I welcome the contribution of these workshops to our ongoing programme of research and dialogue with community organisations. We want to build an inclusive scheme that will give all British citizens confidence and security in proving and protecting their identity."

Explaining why Fujitsu is sponsoring the faith-community consultation, Roger Gilbert, government business unit director for Fujitsu Services said, "As one of Europe's leading providers of IT infrastructure management services with a broad range of Government customers, Fujitsu is keen to understand the views of citizens and how the use of technology in major Government programmes, such as the introduction of identity cards, might affect them."

Referring to the first workshop held in London , Ramesh Kallidai, secretary general of the Hindu Forum, said, "Over 50 people from a number of faith groups attended to express their concerns. Some interesting results came from the discussion and similarly the three other workshops highlighted equally insightful issues. We look forward to presenting our findings and contributing to the development of the identity cards programme."

The consultation programme is being supported by the largest umbrella bodies of each faith community, namely the Hindu Forum of Britain, the Board of Deputies for British Jews, the Muslim Council of Britain, the Network of Sikh Organisations, the Jain Sangha Europe, the Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe, and the Baha'i and Christian communities.

Gul Billimoria, a Zoroastrian participant at the London workshop said, "We were very impressed that Fujitsu has taken up the challenge of getting the different faiths together to debate such an important issue and compile all the data and present it to the government for consideration."

Harmander Singh, principal advisor to Sikhs in England welcomed the open manner in which the government has supported the faith community initiative on identity cards and added, "Having already declared our support for the initiative, we are delighted that all faith communities adopted this positive approach which will surely encourage the government to discuss other matters with us in the future."

The consultations took place in London on 18 January, Birmingham 20 January, Leicester 31 January and Manchester 1 February.

About Fujitsu Services

Fujitsu Services is one of the leading IT services companies in Europe, Middle East and Africa . It has an annual turnover of £1.74 billion, (€2.58 billion) employs 14,500 people and operates in over 20 countries. It designs, builds and operates IT systems and services for customers in the financial services, telecom, retail, utilities and government markets. Its core strength is the delivery of IT infrastructure management and outsourcing across desktop, networking and data centre environments, together with a full range of related services, from consulting through integration and deployment. Headquartered in London , Fujitsu Services is the European-centred IT services arm of the Fujitsu Group. The Fujitsu Group is a US$45 billion (€37 billion) leader in customer-focused IT systems and services for the global marketplace.

Graham Goulden

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Company:Fujitsu Services

Nichola Waller

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Company:Firefly Communications

Date: 02 February, 2005