The Scottish National Entitlement Card (NEC) is a Scotland-wide smart card run by the Scottish Government that is predominantly operated as a concessionary travel pass. It can also act as Proof of Age for young people (Young Scot NEC) and access to civic services such as libraries and leisure centres depending on the local authority.
- 1 Unique Citizen Reference Number
- 2 Councils and issuing of cards
- 3 Schemes using the card system
- 4 Legislative framework
- 5 Improvement Service and MyAccount
- 6 Young Scot Card
- 7 Consultation response
- 8 Information architecture and privacy assessment
- 9 External websites
- 10 References
Unique Citizen Reference Number
Each Scot is assigned a Unique Citizen Reference Number (UCRN) which the card system links each user to. Critics claim that this enables data to be tracked across the Scottish state. The UCRN itself may be linked to NHS register data and used for verification purposes, raising fears that the UCRN will form the backbone of a Scottish identity register and persistent identification of individuals across Scottish state datasets.
The UCRN is assigned to each Scot by National Records of Scotland. Use of the card requires database checks against the NRO’s database. According to the NEC Terms and Conditions:
Your Council will check your identity and residency to reduce the potential for fraudulent applications and to maintain the integrity of your information and entitlements. Your personal details are shared with and verified (cross checked) with the National Records of Scotland (NRS). The Council will also verify your address against the Council national address gazetteer.
Councils and issuing of cards
Schemes using the card system
Very little legislation governs the scheme. The only direct references to components of the scheme are in the Local Electoral Administration and Registration Services (Scotland) Act 2006 which references that the Registrar General will be responsible for a “central register for health and local authority purposes” and assign a unique identifier to everyone born in Scotland:
57 Keeping of central register for health and local authority purposes
(1)The Registrar General may, for the purposes of facilitating the carrying out of the functions of Health Boards, the Common Services Agency and local authorities, create and maintain, using the information mentioned in subsection (2), a register of individuals.
(2)That information is—
- (a) information contained in—
- (i) the registers of births and deaths transmitted to the Registrar General under the 1965 Act;
- (ii) the Adopted Children Register;
- (b)such information as the Registrar General may direct a Health Board or the Common Services Agency to provide for the purposes of the creation and maintenance of the register
(3) An entry … may contain only the following information—
(h) such reference numbers relating uniquely to the person as the Registrar General may determine
According to FAQs concerning the Entitlement Card such as this from Moray Council:
The Unique Citizen Reference Number (UCRN) is used to ensure no duplicate records or accounts are created in your name. It is a 19-digit number that is generated using a special algorithm and is completely anonymous. This is held within the system and the UCRN is used in the authentication process for online services. If you were born in Scotland, your Birth Registration Number is used to generate your UCRN. If you were born elsewhere, a specially allocated number (in the same format) is used for your UCRN.
Improvement Service and MyAccount
The linked myAccount system is administered by the Scottish Improvement Service. The programme as a whole appears to be called the “Customer First” initiative, which is run by the Improvement Service on behalf of the Scottish Government.
MyAccount and the NEC appears to use the same underlying database. Both use the UCRN to distinguish between individuals, and use National Records of Scotland as the source of unique birth registration data.
Young Scot Card
The Young Scot Card is administered by the National youth information and citizenship charity Young Scot. Its uses include discounts, proof of age, and online voting in the Scottish Youth Parliament.
"Scottish Law states that along with passports and drivers licences, the Young Scot National Entitlement Card with the PASS hologram is a legal and trusted way for young people to prove their age and access those goods and services to which they are entitled"
Information architecture and privacy assessment
- National Entitlement Card Scheme Information Architecture Data Flow Diagrams October 2016
- Privacy Impact Assessment October 2016
- "National Entitlement Card Programme". Dundee City Council / Scottish Government. Retrieved 2013-08-26.
- THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT RESURRECTS THE NATIONAL IDENTITY REGISTER, No2ID blog 14 january 2015
- SCOTLAND-WIDE ID DATABASE RISKS PERSONAL PRIVACY AND CIVIL LIBERTIES – UK INFORMATION COMMISSIONER No2ID News blog 5 March 2015
- National Entitlement Card: Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) January 2017
- Local Electoral Administration and Registration Services (Scotland) Act 2006 Section 57 Keeping of central register for health and local authority purposes
- myaccount FAQ, Moray Council
- What does the Young Scot Card offer? PASS is Proof, Young Scot Card website