Clarity needed to complete UK e-borders project

3 June 2011

3 June 2011 | Adam Leach

The UK Border Agency still does not have a coherent plan on how to complete its e-borders project, even though new suppliers have been contracted to it.

A report by the Home Affairs Committee said it remained deeply concerned over a “lack of clarity about the final shape of the scheme”. The project is designed to strengthen immigration controls by collecting and analysing information on people entering and leaving the UK.

Last year the Home Office dropped the initial supplier, RaytheonSystems, saying it had “no confidence” Raytheon could address the delays that had beset the project’s implementation.

IBM has taken over the running of the database, and Serco handles the interface between the Border Agency and transporters, such as airlines and ferry operators, and the facility to check names against lists.

The group of MPs said while the first supplier has been removed, the fundamental issue behind the problems experienced remains.

Keith Vaz, chair of the Committee, said: “Though progress has been made, it is clear that the UK Border Agency is still not fit for purpose. [The Home Office] will have to ensure that the UK Border Agency begins to focus on the outcome rather than the processes of their work.”

The report added that requirements transport operators must adhere to are not practical, and this has still not been addressed by either the Border Agency or its suppliers satisfactorily.

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