United Kingdom Passport Service
The United Kingdom Passport Service (UKPS), whose headquarters are in London Victoria SW1, is an executive agency of the Home Office at the fulcrum of government policy and strategy. In a climate where ease of passage across national borders in a shrinking world is one of today’s crucial issues, the UKPS handles 5.7 million passport applications per year in delivering against its mission statement of confirming Nationality and identity, and therefore enabling passage.
The UKPS has a regional office strategy, which incorporates seven multi-storey buildings distributed throughout the British Isles.
Managing such a large, disparate estate brings its own issues, not least the safety and management of 3,000 staff members, together with the thousands of visitors and contractors who also enter and exit the buildings each year.
In early 2002, the UKPS began a journey on which it would see them move to implementing a campus-wide, integrated time and attendance, and access control system. The objectives of the program were to improve staff safety and building security.
The UKPS was specific in its requirements for both access control and time management. A detailed specification document and tender was issued in February 2002, where the needs of the systems for both today and tomorrow were clearly set out. The ease of management and administration of the software user interface across the extensive existing IT infrastructure was paramount, and the robustness of any offering was key to any successful supplier.
Proximity card readers were required for distribution to over 150 doors across the seven buildings, ensuring a safe and secure environment for staff and visitors alike, whilst at the same time preventing trespass. The system needed to provide extremely secure applications for sensitive areas, which were fully audit-able and provided real-time alarms.
The tender process was detailed and complex, with AMAG Technology eventually coming out on top of the twelve companies short listed. Prior to the award of contract, a rigid approval process was undertaken where both Symmetry and Plantime were tested independently by the UKPS’s IT service provider. The tests were exhaustive but needless to say, both products gained the approvals they required.
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