The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) is set to sign a contract with business solutions provider Hansab according to which the company will start issuing personal identity documents at around 50 shopping centers and supermarkets across Estonia. The service is to be expanded to Finland next year.
"This means that, starting late this year and early next year, people will be able to pick up their personal identity documents — passports and ID cards — from bigger malls as well as Prisma and Selver supermarkets across Estonia," Minister of the Interior Lauri Läänemets (SDE) said at Thursday's government press conference.
According to the minister, this means the opening of approximately 50 service points in addition to the PPA's own service offices.
Läänemets justified the involvement of a private company in the issuing of identity documents with the fact that PPA service offices have sometimes seen very long lines.
"This should significantly reduce people's wait times and trouble," he said. "This will be done safely, and relevant training has already been organized."
According to the interior minister, PPA and Hansab will launch the second stage of their partnership, in which the company will also start issuing Estonian government-issued identity documents at service points in Finland, which is home to a significant Estonian population.
Procurement announced this spring
This May, the PPA launched a procurement for an external service provider for the issuing of government-issued Estonian identity documents outside of PPA services offices in Estonia as well as in Finland.
"We want to find a partner whose service points are located in high-traffic locations, so that people could easily fit picking up documents into their daily errands," explained Marit Abram, field coordinator at the PPA's Identity and Status Bureau. "In addition to Estonia, the service provider also has to arrange the issuing of documents in Finland as well, where a large community of Estonian citizens is scattered across the country for whom we can likewise simplify the pickup of their documents."
It is nonetheless vital that the issuing of identity documents is safe and secure, the chief superintendent stressed.
"The external service provider will essentially act as an extension of the state, ensuring that only the correct person is issued their identity document," Abram said. "Therefore it is important we find a secure service provider with this procurement, whose trained staff is capable of identifying the person whose document is being issued."
Applicants will pay a fee for document pickup from the external service provider, the exact price of which will be determined by the outcome of the procurement. The price of this service is among the procurement's assessment criteria, with more points going to service providers offering a lower client price for the pickup service.
The length of the contract is 5 years, with an estimated cost of €10 million listed in the Procurement Register this spring.
Last year, the PPA issued a total of more than 409,000 identity documents.
Editor: Aili Vahtla