Feasibility Trials - Self-enrolment of Biometrics


Introduction to the Expression of Interest

On behalf of Home Office Border, Immigration and Citizenship System (BICS), JSaRC has opened a call for Expressions of Interest (EOI) from organisations that can take part in feasibility trials aimed confirming the capabilities of Biometric Self-enrolment technologies.

Feasibility Trials are due to take between from October - December 2021 and this Expression of Interest will be open for submissions until 11:59 am on 15 February 2021.

These trials will not affect other procurement exercises for border and immigration identity and biometric services that the Home Office will launch over the next year.

The Home Office is transitioning its identity enrolment and verification capability to be completely digital and unsupervised over the next decade.  From 2023 this will begin with cohorts that currently do not provide biometrics and will not be required to attend a physical location to enrol.  To achieve this, the Home Office has a number of cross cutting workstreams aligning to this transition to ensure the benefits are realised on a value for money basis.

These workstreams include the:
  1. Biometric self-enrolment feasibility trials, that will assess the technical feasibility of moving towards unsupervised remote biometric capture, which this EOI seeks to address in more detail;
  2. Future Borders and Immigration System (FBIS) Programme responsible for driving and delivering current digital identify enrolment and verification capacity and services, Global Identity Verification; and
  3. Future Supplier Services (FSS) Programme responsible for integrating and enabling the transition of current manual processes to digital identity enrolment and verification services in partnership with FBIS, for customer cohorts who currently provide fingerprints in supervised locations.
The use of innovative self-enrolment capabilities to enable customers to self-enrol their biometrics using existing technologies like smartphones or other emerging technologies and methods to read identity documents as well as capture facial images and fingerprints is considered a desirable direction of travel.  Any future solution must be convenient for applicants and able to be rolled-out at scale.

The Home Office envisages a combination of two solutions: one that can be downloaded on widely available personal devices (i.e. smartphone or tablet) and another that allows applicants to self-enrol their biometrics through unsupervised static biometric capture equipment. For the purpose of this exercise, unsupervised static biometric capture equipment could be self-service kiosks; however, any other innovative solutions will be considered.

A Request for Information (RFI) was issued in March 2020 for input on how self-enrolment of biometrics may work. The RFI also covered Presentation Attack Detection
[1] (PAD) and binding the captured biometrics (face and fingerprints) to a person’s identity.  A good variety of responses were received reflecting the current and future maturity of capabilities.  The analysis of the responses has identified a number of aspects that require further development and confirmation of capability through feasibility trials.  The capabilities ranged from mature (such as reading and authenticating the chips on travel documents), to not being able to demonstrate the capability at the scale required by the Home Office (such as the self-enrolment of genuine biometrics at the required quality) and through to immature (binding biometrics to an identity).

The feasibility trials will assess the technical feasibility of capturing biometrics (face and fingerprints) in an unsupervised environment in a secure way only.  No contracts or procurements will be issued as a direct result of this activity.  Respondents should be aware that there are no guarantees that taking part in this activity will result in any future business, contracts or procurement from HMG or partners. However, this activity may inform the Home Office’s approach.

[1] Presentation Attack Detection (PAD) software is responsible for detecting intentional or unintentional attempts to subvert or spoof the system (e.g. through fingerprint moulds or a face mask etc.).

Introduction to the Feasibility Trials 
The analysis of the RFI responses has identified a number of aspects that require further development and confirmation of capability through feasibility trials. The feasibility trials will be an opportunity to test the available technology and collect data to determine the matching performance of self-enrolled biometrics.   

The results of the trials will identify the readiness for operational trials and further areas where vendors can improve their products. 

Please see here to access full details on the trial objectives, requirements and EOI process.  

Submitting an Expression of Interest 
Only once you have fully reviewed the detailed document linked to above, please continue to the next page of this survey portal to begin completing your response.  

Questions from Respondents
Questions may be directed to JSaRC@homeoffice.gov.uk, before 11:59am on 29/01/2021. Emails should have ‘Biometric Self-Enrolment EOI Questions’ in the subject line of the email. JSaRC cannot guarantee that questions received after the deadline will be responded to.

Please note that questions received over the festive period will NOT be responded to before 06 January 2021. 
Any supporting information provided by email, such as brochures and PDFs will not be considered at this stage.

Please be aware questions submitted to JSaRC as part of the EOI response and answers to these questions may be published.

Guidelines for Completing the EOI
Please ensure you utilise the ‘Save and continue’ feature of this online portal. Please be aware, you may need to add ‘noreply@smartsurvey.co.uk’ to your trusted senders list to avoid the saved survey link going into your spam or junk folder.

It is advised to test the ‘save and continue’ feature once you have put in your personal details, to ensure you do not complete a large portion of the EOI and lose your work due to an error.

Copies of your responses will not be provided by the Home Office and you should retain a copy of your own responses or utilise the 'print response' feature on the final page of the survey.

It is advised that respondents prepare their answers to the following questions in advance of completing this questionnaire. You can view the following questions within section 10 of this document.

Please confirm you have read the Requirements and Disclaimer in the accompanying document.
Please note that a non-affirmative answer will automatically disqualify this response. *