Budget 2010: Embattled Document Verification Scheme gets $23.6m

Rarely used system to get additional funding under the 2010-11 Budget

Another $23.6 million has been poured into identity security policy to refill the coffers of the struggling national Document Verification Service (nDVS).

The five-year old nDVS was ripped apart by an Australian National Audit Office audit report last month for failing to deliver on key outcomes to create a national identity validation system to crack-down on fraud.

In a candid report, the auditor wrote that the nDVS is “rarely used” and makes “little contribution” to strengthening identification processes.

“The current range of identity–related credentials are of variable quality and accuracy, which exposes individuals, business and government to many risks from not being able to verify that a person is who they claim to be,” the report reads.

Adoption of the nDVS was so poor, the report read, that it processed only 10 transactions a day instead of an anticipated 1 million. It had processed 50,000 by the end of last year, with up to 38 per cent being false negatives or errors.

It reported that a “range of activities” within the six components of the National Identity Security Strategy (NISS), which include the nDVS, and the development of standards for record collection and identity authentication, rarely delivered.

The office reported that four of the NISS components developed “best practice guides” rather than implement standards.

The Attorney-General’s department, which oversees the NISS, has accepted the criticisms and remedial actions which include changes to systems and work practices and even reconsidering the future of the nDVS.

"The Australian Government ‘lead agency’ considers it has limited leadership authority and no responsibility in relation to the implementation of the initiatives, excluding the nDVS. In these circumstances, there would be benefit in the parties to the NISS articulating their roles and responsibilities as far as implementation of the NISS elements is concerned, with Attorney-Generals Department performing a leadership role in this process," the report reads.

Requests for comment and clarification on the budget allocation have been lodged with the Attorney-Generals department.

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Tags identity managementBudget 2010national Document Verification Service (nDVS)

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