Contract awarded for manufacture of next-gen UK passports

The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) has announced De La Rue has won the contract to produce the next-generation British passport book under a new £400 million contract.

The passport, which will be available from October 2010, will have a new design and improved security features including the capacity to hold fingerprint biometrics. According to the Identity and Passport Service (IPS), it will give citizens added protection from identity theft and help secure borders against passport and identity fraud.

The contract will ensure the British passport keeps pace with international standards for travel documents.

"The British passport is recognised as one of the best in the world and we want to keep it that way. Today we are affirming our commitment to making this travel document more secure than ever by using fingerprint biometrics," said IPS chief executive James Hall.

"Upgrading the British passport is essential to keep pace with the most advanced international standards for travel documents and will ensure that British citizens have the freedom to travel easily world-wide.

"De La Rue has shown it is superbly placed to deliver this large project and we are delighted they are working with us."

The procurement process for the contract started with 20 prospective bidders in June 2008, before De La Rue was awarded the £400 million contract to design and produce the next generation passport.

"The Identity and Passport Service was looking for a partner it could rely on to deliver the complete service for the UK passport," said James Hussey, CEO of De La Rue. "As a British company, producing passports and identity documents for over 50 governments, De La Rue is proud to be selected to bring its expertise to this project. This contract further reinforces De La Rue's strong growth in the identity sector."

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