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back to article UK.gov sacks lead e-Borders contractor

The Home Office has sacked lead contractor Raytheon from the £1.2bn e-Borders programme, saying it has "no confidence" in the firm. The immigration minister Damian Green said today the programme was running at least 12 months late and that Raytheon had been in breach of contract since July last year. Raytheon was the lead …

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Grenade

Hang about

Isn't this the opt-in, e-directive breaching system being criticised by EHCR? Can the whole bloody thing I say, it's not like the rest of Gov's most favoured pork barrellers aren't wasting enough of our money already.

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Unhappy

It appears the Labour Government was either ...

incompetent or sleeping with IT contractors.

If you review all the 'database' syndrome that seemed to plague the Labour thought process. project after project were abject failures.

GIGO (garbage in, gospel out) rules.

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Happy

Oh joy

Fantastic!

I'm waiting for the phone call, to come in and fix it.

Alas, as politicians think almost as little of me, as I do of them, the corrupt filthy worthless pikeys (does this violate the new terms?) I suspect that this phone call will not be coming.

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Happy

corrupt filthy worthless pikeys

I believe you should replace pikeys with scumbags or toerags and you should be ok.

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FAIL

... and sued?

Sacked -and sued- presumably? With the settlement to be paid in cold hard cash, and not merely a discount on future contracts they win (I'm looking at you, EDS). Well, chance'd be a fine thing.

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The worrying thing for me

The worrying thing for me in this article is the statement from the Home Office drone:

"A today Home Office spokesman said Woolas' claims were a matter for the previous government."

The Home Office is a public office, staffed with public servants who should not (at least while working) take a political stance. That means, the facts should have been provided to the old minster and if he lied to parliament, then the department should have corrected him, publically or at least in parliament. The Home Office should never be a body supporting flase assumptions in order to achieve a party's political aims or to make a minister look good.

However, it appears in this case they did exactly that by letting him lie and mislead parliament. And they seem to be setting themselves up to do the same thing with the ConDems by not seeming to care what the previous government did or said at all. Theyre should at the least be an investigation to see what information was given to the minister, whether he delibrately mislead parliament or whether he was given the information that he spouted and whether that information was provided a) delibrately to curry favour or b) because of incompetence in not checking the facts and auditing Raytheon more closely.

I find that highly worrying!

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Anonymous Coward

What concerns me more

Home office spokesman???

Who exactly? Who is it that speaks on behalf of the Home Office?

An unnamed source, spokesman, spokeswoman, spokesperson, drone. They all mean the same thing......Bullshitter.

As in..... "Today a Home Office Bullshitter said Woolas' claims were a matter for the previous government."

Unnamed sources = no source, spin, propaganda, not to be believed, bullshit.

Unfortunately we have become accustomed to hearing the words "an xyz spokesperson said" or an "unnamed source said" in most "news" these days.

Keep an eye out for it, you'll be surprised.

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Pour encourager les autres?

More of this please!

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Unhappy

sacked the wrong parties

I almost got excited, but they are targeting the wrong folk. Aside form the usual mess of poorly stated requirements , moving goalposts and all the usual mess of gov. IT projects (an assumption on my part admittedly), the whole programme is badly thought out - anyone here a leisure sailor? Just look at the procedures we'll need to follow not to mention the restrictions on where and when we go anywhere if for example we want to pop over to France!

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Pint

Oh well

That's put paid to my burgeoning leisure sailing hobby ...

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lied?

So Woolas lied?

Wasn't one of the habitual liars in Brown's government. Seems to be a pre-requisite of the job - certainly in Blair's and Brown's governments

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Troll

If I lied

If i lied in my job i'd get the sack, can't be bothered to search to see if this guy is still an MP i'm guessing for Liverpool.

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Anonymous Coward

An expensive pointless project

A system with voluntary "opt in" is a pointless system as criminals will just "opt out". I would be interested to see the cost benefit analysis?

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Calm down, rabble

Raytheon likely just did the usual: put in a ridiculously low bid without getting requirements, or asking any of the engineers how long it would take, or believing their answer. That's business as usual; let's all put the torches and pitchforks down.

The border will always be porous, so long as we have a coasline. Better to spend that £1.2 beelyon on extra shifts for coppers to kick down doors and turf out the illegals who are already here, then build an annexe to the Chunnel and start shoving them in. Shouldn't take too long before the pressure starts popping out the other end, then they're Jeanny Frog's problem.

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Umm what?

"The border will always be porous, so long as we have a coastline."

You've got to be kidding? The UK has a MASSIVE advantage having a coastline. A person cant tunnel under the border, a person cant climb a fence, run across an open desert or do any of the dozens of other things that a sea border precludes. Why do you think policing the border of the US and Mexico, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iraq and Turkey (or Iraq and any of its neighbours for that matter) are so hard? Why do you think Australia has such a low rate of illegal immigration despite having massive borders?

Having a sea border gives you the best oppurtunity to track everyone coming in and out of the country. To think otherwise is utter bollocks...

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Go

Well said that man.

And almost all of the illegals arrive via Heathrow or Dover. Heres an idea. Increase border police presence at ports and international airports. I dont feel all that clever suggesting this, but it seems to have completely passed the government by. Instead, as a previous poster noted, they are making life hell for leisure yachtsmen. Seriously, its soon going to be a nightmare going to france for the weekend on a yacht.

Home office: Go for the easy targets, the low haning fruit. Heres another thought, if you can afford a yacht, theres a very strong chance youre from the same cross section of society that hates porous borders. i.e. not likely to smuggle people in. Its not a 100% overlap but it wont be far of. So effing well leave us alone.

Disclaimer: I dont have a yacht, I cant afford a yacht. I sail other peoples. So leave me alone!

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Ridiculously low!

"Raytheon likely just did the usual: put in a ridiculously low bid...".

It's depressing to think that £650 million is a ridiculously low bid in uk.gov's world. £10 a head.

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Anonymous Coward

Yes, but...

...if we were land locked we could build a great wall all the way around with machine gun emplacements every few hundred yards and a minefield on our side etc etc! Think what a boost it would be to our automobile industry!

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RW
Big Brother

@ JaitCH

My guess is that NuLabour had read "Government for Dummies" or "Creating a Surveillance State, for Dummies", plus "The Miracle of the Database, for Dummies".

Being dummies themselves, from top to bottom, they believed in its entirety what they read. People of only modest intelligence long ago learned to be skeptical of overblown claims, but not NuLabour.

I'm awaiting news that Brown read "Affirmations for Dummies" and spent five minutes every morning in front of a mirror chanting "I'm the most intelligent guy, I'm a superb Chancellor, ain't I just wonderful!"

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Easy

How hard can it be to create a database which simply records the date/time when someone arrived and departed from the country?

Give everybody a unique ID number - that will be the passport number, and if they don't have a passport number, use a sequence object in Oracle to create a new unique number!

Store their name, address, date, place of birth.. - give them landing cards to fill in!

I could knock up a database in perhaps a day, ok, then you have to put the infrastructure together to scale it up to cope with the number of people coming and going.

It's easy. Or it can be, if they want it to be. But probably trying to be too ambitious!

How many simultaneous users are there likely to be? There aren't that many airports, seaports in this flippin' country!

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e Borders +

So, it's still on then - the I.D. card.

"It won't affect me I'm not an illegal". Yeah well, you can be marked as an 'undesirable' just for showing up at a demonstration these days.

Or --"Look, I've got a card that says I'm not an illegal"

Not surprising they need to all these cuts - that's another new lot of contractors required - and another quango to run it.

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Anonymous Coward

The ID card has nothing to do with e-Borders

The ID card has nothing to do with e-Borders, other than the fact that ID cards from other European member states can be accepted in lieu of a passport.

e-Borders is a system that takes passenger information from passenger check in desks for flights, ferries and trains which are destined for / transit through the UK, it makes a decision on whether each passenger is allowed to board the craft based on a number of watch lists that are maintained by various agencies within the UK. The system has to make a decision for each passenger in less than a few seconds, because the system cannot hold up check in of passengers, it has a very high SLA because if the system fails it results in queues at check in desks, ferry ports and train terminals, resulting in disruption to transport services and passengers.

The requirements of the system are ambitious, which is why the system had such a high price attached, unfortunately Raytheon and their subcontractors under estimated the complexities of the requirement and of the UK Gov as a customer. Raytheon had previously produced the US Visit system, which performs a similar function to e-Borders in the US, except, that the US Visit system requires that passenger information be submitted 24 hours prior to a passenger flying, the UK cant do this due to some EU legislation about privacy and not having to prove your identity to travel unimpeded around the EU, this legislation was revised following the award of contract, although the requirement to check passengers at check in always existed.

UKBA selected TrustedBorders because Raytheon was supposedly experienced in providing similar systems, in reality, Raytheon was a bit arrogant, because it assumed that a UK system, being much smaller, would be easier than the much larger US Visit system and that there would be a lot fewer complexities, they were wrong, they failed to listen to their subcontractors who are experienced in the UK market and they have suffered for it.

I suspect there will be a lot of litigation as all the subcontractors will expect to get their payment from Raytheon and the UK Gov will also be expecting a refund, this saga isn't over yet by a long shot.

I'm actually expecting that IBM could be the big winners with this news as they produced the e-Borders pilot system (Semaphore), they are likely to be the front runner to step in and sort out e-Borders as UKBA (or IND as they were at the time) were very pleased with the work IBM did on the Pilot.

Anon for obvious reasons.

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Thanks for the clear and concise information!

Thanks AC, that was actually the clearest and most concise description of the system that ive heard so far, and i have to say it points out to me the biggest problem with the idea of the system - that of the advanced decision making.

By needing to make the decision about whether someone flies or not, prior to their even getting on board a plane (potentially) halfway around the world away, you add significant trouble to the system.

The system has been sold to the public as a way of counting all the people arriving into and leaving the country, therefore i ask the question - why do you need to count them before they even leave their departure point? Whats wrong with counting them as they arrive? You already spend time passing though customs when arriving by plane or Eurostar (ive never travelled to the UK by ferry but i assume theres a similar procedure), so how hard is it to take a persons details then (passport number, etc) as already happens with non-EU nationals.

The only two benefit for the current system that i can see are a) it reduces the number of people turned away upon arriving to the UK (which is already a miniscule number im sure!) and b) potentially stopping a terrorist getting onboard an aircraft at the other end. This second option seems to imply that the UK government does not trust the security at airports or ferry terminals ANYWHERE else in the world and so needs to make the decisions for the security guards in other countries. This stinks of overkill and will no doubt lead to any number of mistaken refusals to fly.

Scale back the system to a "count on arrival" system like the public think it is and you reduce the complexity and will actually get a usable system...

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It's not just counting...

....it's knowing WHO is coming to the country.

Sure, you might want to stop people boarding the plane, but on the other hand you might want to organise a reception committee. Not necessarily to arrest them when they arrive in the UK - though that might be what you want to do - but possibly just to keep tabs on them and watch what they're up to in the UK.

So if you need to mobilise numbers of people to do this, it helps to have a few hours warning.

BTW, the point about stopping people boarding the flight if they would not be allowed into the UK was about the only good point about this system as far as the airlines were concerned. If someone is refused entry into the UK, the airline has to bear the costs of flying them back to where they came from.

Everything else for the airlines or travel industry was negative - having to gather all the data, having to make it available to e-Borders - all additional cost, no benefit.

There's no way that the Government could afford to go out to tender on this again.There's no way that any other company would take over the Raytheon solution without charging megabucks for the risk. So either e-Borders is dead or, as someone has said, IBM will be rubbing their hands.

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typical UK Govt numpties

NZ and Australia have been doing this for years... logging in/out travellers through their border points. Is the UK Govt that anal about re-creating the wheel that they ignore successful implementations around the globe? Leverage what they've got and improve on it.

Raytheon project manage? Pork-barrel manage more like it.

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Flame

NZ and Australia?

It's called "scale", plus a small factor called "distance". Of course, if you have never worked with customers or in IT, for example, you will be unaware that numbers and distance can be significant and that what is adequate for one size and location will not necessarily scale to another.

These two countries contain something like 4-5 million and 14-20 million people respectively (do not know current figures, hence rough range). UK holds somethng like 60 million or more.

NZ is rather a long flight / sea voyage from Australia and both are a very long way from from most of the rest of the world (Indonesia apart).

UK is a rather popular tourist and business destination and source surrounded by neighbours within a few hours, on a good day, even visible distance, plus a tunnel. i.e. traffic volume is enormously different, with probably more day-trippers than the total numbers between, say, Australia and NZ (not many day-trippers and weekend trippers to either) e.g. for the booze-and-baccy run, the cross channel sailors, the England-Scandinavia trips.

Plus, being in the EU, free passage to/from EU partners is normal and expected. Australia is even getting funny about NZers, leaving just a few odd spots like Norfolk Island.

Bit like the oddity in another post who seemed to think he could knock up a DB to manage all movements, making me wonder just how Oracle and others justify their existence and what user interface he would use (he knows there would be users?).

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Anonymous Coward

understand the concept you dolt..

1. have worked with IT and major customers for 35 years, global at that - you are probably not even 35

2. naturally the scale is larger, so concentrate on the concept not the scope

4. compare to the USA then if you want better scale

5. Australia is getting funny with NZers?... wow, thats like new....

6. passports get scanned now at UK Borders anyway, day-trippers et al, so you may scoff at 'knock up a DB' but in essence thats the bulk of the requirement... save the info captured at point for future/further analysis.

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why read between the lines when its drawn in crayon?

"The government is determined to get value for money from its major contracts and requires the highest standard of performance from its suppliers," said Green.

So why is it not possible to expect a high standard of public servant as the customer? Silly me, they have to be numpties otherwise how can suppliers price-gouge? God forbid public servants suddenly became the sharpest knives in the drawer, then the majors would be out of business...

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@Easy

There's half million immigrants arrive every year. Heathrow alone transported 8000 people an hour. That's less than a tenth of the final hour of trading on someone like Dabs or John Lewis Direct in December. I expect there's more to it than that though.

Call me a cynic, however, but I imagine that since the government was paying, someone will have recommended an Oracle Server of no less than 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 processors, and 12Giga Exa Tera Mega Kilo Yotta Googleplex Terabytes of ram (with appropriate licences of course,) and arrays of "Open Source" Java based servers - because open source is cheap. (Look we've managed to prove it will save us nearly 20 grand in licences if we go with JBOSS, and it's only cost us 40 million in charged hours to prove it, and another three million to reproduce Select Count (*) From TabX efficiently using Hibernate.)

I imagine dozens of feasibility studies and progress meetings would have taken place, and meetings with people flying from the hebrides, australia, and South Georgia, first class, to discuss the results, on on a charge out rate of, what? a grand a day or more perhaps?. This is how money disappears.

Even I could make a loss on 90 million, if I was allowed to hire my own people in other parts of my business, and charge them out to myself. I could practically guarantee cost overruns if I was allowed to hire people on 450 a day, and charge them out at 900, and keep the difference. I'd have so many people working on that project, you'd scarcely believe it.

Someone once said to me, in response to a joke email I forwarded.

"Consultancy Terms, and what they mean....

Pre-sales : Lying.

Sales Proposition : Conspiracy to commit fraud.

Sales : Fraud.

Partner : Few words apart from 'Blair' would be sufficient.

Principal Consultant : Salesman, Liar.

Consultant : Liar.

Project : The Big Con

d'ya folla!"

that I'd missed one.

"Programme: the long con"

Even now though, many hours after I read the news, I'm still overjoyed with Damian Green, proof that not all MPs are Pikeys, and I'll email him to say so, and ask for more, just so he gets some good feedback.

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WTF?

Will the UK now join Schengen?

If they did they'd get access to a system already in place. I'm not saying it works, only that it is there. Also, most continental EU countries have a system of ID, which I'm sure the UK could have a butchers at.

Come to think of it, doesn't everyone who is 'legit' in UK have a Nat Ins ID?? Whats the problem, if you don't have one, your not legit.....

Anyway the whole thing is a post 9/11 and 7/7 reaction, on Newsnight last night they poo-pooed the whole thing as a waste of resources for what it actually achieves.

Finally, I don't trust any public or private body with my data..... but wtf can I do about it??

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I have one word for you...

"duplicate". Yes, there have been (and might still be) duplicate NI numbers where they have been issued more than once, in error. And if they are so good, why is it that they are not already the only reference number we need to interact with all government services?

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Coat

CCTV the coastline

Surely for £1.2bn we could have a ring of CCTV cams all around the coast? Job done, and they could even double as dinghy speeding cameras to raise some extra revenue..

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scumbags or toerags ??

Now !! Now !! What have you got against "scumbags or toerags" that you insult them so !! The previous government make Third World governments look like the paragons of virtue by comparison !!

They not only lied to the people but they corrupted the very fabric of society by creating the image that DISHONESTY AND IRRESPONSIBILITY are acceptable since, by their very own conduct, they were constantly dishonest and irresponsible !!

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Anonymous Coward

hmm

I wonder if logica will bid for it .they have done a relatively decent job on the PND .I see no reason why they shouldnt get a crack at it tbh

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