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Government chided over e-Border programme failure ahead of Olympics

29 May 2012
House of Parliament

The government has been slammed for its failure to fully implement its e-Borders programme in time for the Olympics, despite being launched in 2003.

The controversial £1.2bn e-Borders scheme was originally conceived as a way to control illegal immigration and terrorism, through gathering information electronically on all travellers entering or leaving the UK.

A report by the Home Affairs Committee on the Home Office's procurement strategies found that in many areas the government is still failing to adequately assess the scope of its requirements when tendering for contracts.

"Serious concerns remain over the process of procurement. The Committee believes moves towards greater private-sector involvement are being taken without clarity over their scope," it said.

In particular, the e-Borders scheme came in for specific criticism as, despite new contracts being awarded to Serco and IBM ahead of the Olympics, it will still not be implemented ahead of the event. Committee chairman Keith Vaz said the fact it was still not finalised was a "serious concern".

"The e-Borders programme which has resulted in the loss of millions of pounds of taxpayers' money highlights the need for procurement to be carried out correctly and to include clear goals for private sector companies," he said.

"It remains a huge disappointment that e-Borders is not fully in place in time for the Olympics."

Despite these criticisms, the Home Office did receive some words of encouragement, with the Committee nothing that £75m had been saved in the last financial year but this is still a long way short of its goal of saving £1.8bn.

V3 contacted the Home Office for its response to the report but had received no reply at the time of publication.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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