Straightening the ID field

The commitee assessing the organizing of the special agencies has included in its report a recommendation concerning the ID field, namely that it should be the subject of further studies.
Published: 1/18/2018
Leader of the Norwegian ID-Centre, Arne Isak Tveitan

They are not the only ones and not the first to give this recommendation.

On 18 May this year the committee assessing the organizing of the expert agencies presented its report titled «Bedre bistand. Bedre beredskap. Fremtidig organisering av politiets særorganer» (NOU 2017:11) («Better assistance, Better prepared. The future organization of the police special agencies».The Norwegian ID Centre was not included in the committee’s mandate, but we do appreciate that the committee has turned to us regarding specific questions linked to the ID field. We note that the report refers to the ID area as fragmented, and that central players call for a clarification of mandate, responsibility, allocation of responsibilities and organization. From the report: ‘Several players have expressed to the committee that there is a need for a clearer definition of responsibilities within the ID field, and for clearer guidelines. The field is very fragmented, with some tasks assigned to the police and others to a variety of agencies like the Norwegian ID centre, the Tax Administration, Difi and UDI. This fragmentation leads to inefficient use of resources and is a recipe for conflicts of objectives.

I totally agree with this recommendation, and in my opinion this needs to be taken care of soon. It is a fact that several reports and evaluations have pointed out the need for a streghtening of the ID field in Norway. One of these is a study made by Oxford Research on behalf of UDI which concluded that Norway does not have a unified ID administration. The report observes that responsibility for clarifying ID is scattered among several parts, that this is of consequence for building competence and resources to deal with the task. This may undermine the work with detecting false identities.

PWC assesses the organization of the ID field in its 2013 evaluation report, pointing out that ‘…there are several players within the immigration administration, including several ministries (Ministry of Justice and Public Security, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Children and Equality), the police (including the Police Directorate, the National Police Immigration Service, National Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) and the Norwegian Police Security Service), UDI, UNE, IMDi and Landinfo. With such a number of players and such a variety of challenges and methods in their ID work there has been some overlap of responsibilities and unfortunate duplicate work.

It is well known that there are a number of challenges linked to identity and the establishment of it. The ID field has grown and diversified to such an extent that there are many of us who feel that the time has come for a straightening out of things.

Since the establishment of the Norwegian ID Centre in 2010 we have become increasingly aware of the need for a leading and resourceful professional environment in the ID field, with the capacity to work with ID topics in society in general. My hope is that all recommendations about a broad study of ID work in Norwegian society and the organization of it will be followed up as soon as possible.