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e-Borders goes under auditor's spotlight



National Audit Office to report on cancelled programme this winter

The National Audit Office is to report on the cancelled e-Borders programme this winter, the spending watchdog has revealed. Its findings may be embarrassing to both main political parties.

e-Borders was conceived in 2003, one of a glut of major IT projects initiated by the Labour government which included the NHS National Programme for IT and the identity cards programme. In 2007 the Home Office contracted Raytheon to deliver a system that would collect passenger information on travellers entering and leaving the UK and allow it to be used to make decisions about whether to allow entry.

Citing delays, the government terminated the contract in 2010. The abrupt cancellation result in litigation that was settled early this year with a payment of £150 million to Raytheon by the coalition government. According to the National Audit Office, the Home Office “has since explored other options for developing a system”.

Lessons for the future

The report will examine how the department has managed these programmes and drawn out lessons for the future, the National Audit Office said.

The legal dispute over the cancellation took five years and cost some £35 million in legal fees.

The e-Borders programme was first commissioned in 2003 to improve the use of information to track people moving across the UK’s borders. The aim was to conduct checks on travellers at the point of embarkation to the UK, rather than on arrival in the country.


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