back to article Capita bosses defend £30m migrant-poking IT deal with Border Agency

Outsourcing giant Capita's CEO has defended his company's £30m migrant-chasing contract with the UK Border Agency - and insisted it is not, as one MP delicately put it, "money for old rope". Paul Pindar, the London-headquartered plc's top boss, and two of his high-ranking lieutenants were told to justify the new four-year IT …


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  1. Silverburn

    What we bring to it is process, rule-based systems, and workflow management tools.

    Oh, that gives me such a warm fuzzy feeling, knowing my tax pounds are going to good use...


    1. David Hicks

      Yes! And it sounds so .... enterprisey! That means it must be good, right?

      1. sabba

        Yes, cos of course....

        ...Capita are known for their efficient processes, which means they always deliver on time and under budget.

    2. smudge Silver badge

      What we bring to it is process, rule-based systems, and workflow management tools.

      Anyone else, thanks to events elsewhere, expect that to finish "....and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope!" ?

  2. It wasnt me


    "Vaz claimed that the Border Agency asks migrants to consent to sharing their data with other government departments".

    ..... WTF...... Has anyone ever said 'yes'?

    Why the crap would would you give that option to someone who by definition will be doing their very best to avoid government detection?

    1. David Hicks

      Re: WTF?

      Because not all migrants will be doing their best to avoid government detection?

      Obviously the ones who are going to be trying to avoid detection aren't likely to say yes, but I think you're confused about the meaning of the word 'migrant'.

  3. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    What about the 300 000 back log of asylum seekers.

    These people are either

    a) Terrified out of their wits they will be sent back to where they came and killed and may have lived with that threat for a decade

    b)Undeserving economic migrants who have probably got a job in the black economy and never made a single contribution to a countries tax base. They've spent their time digging in, wangling access to the health system, and possibly free schooling for their kids (while having a few more to play the "We've put down roots here, they have never seen my country" routine).*

    But either way justice delayed is justice denied

    *BTW It's my policy to only comment on something I have direct experience of or I've done substantial research on. And no I do not read the Daily Jailbait Heil.

    1. Lxbr

      Re: What about the 300 000 back log of asylum seekers.

      Is it your contention that they are 'in the black economy' so much that they never buy anything with VAT on it? Only e.g. stolen goods?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about the 300 000 back log of asylum seekers.

      "b)Undeserving economic migrants who have probably got a job in the black economy and never made a single contribution to a countries tax base....."

      1st up, please define difference between deserving and undeserving? I thought a human life was a human life.

      Back on topic the main reason is because it is illegal for an Asylum seeker (without leave to stay) / eco - migrant to actually earn any money in a legit fashion, therefore they have the following choices:

      1. Starve - Inhumane

      2. Beg - illegal

      3. Work illegally, but hopefully have a better life than back home.

      4. Go back home and probably do Options 1 or 2 there instead (or be killed / tortured).

      Given those options, I'd do exactly the same i.e. Option 3.

      1. Tim Parker

        Re: What about the 300 000 back log of asylum seekers.

        There is also option 5 (which could be used with 2 or 3, and presumably is by some) - apply to the UKBA for cash support. It's not much but at least non-zero. More details from the UNHCR and other organisations, e.g. Turn2Us.

        There is, theoretically, the option to apply for contribution based benefits - but this would presumably only be applicable to a tiny proportion of applicants, e.g. someone who has legitimately lived and paid contributions in the UK before attempting to apply for refugee status as an asylum seeker.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        Re: What about the 300 000 back log of asylum seekers.

        Happily, Mr AC (Wouldn't it be a laugh if this was an eadon post?).


        Someone fleeing for their very life, basically someone whose going to get shot in the head within 24 hours of arriving back in country.


        No threat of anything happening to them (including getting a job) whose faked up some BS (probably with advice from a lawyer in the EU) and hopped on a direct flight to the country so they can't be dumped out to some other part of the EU. They should apply and demonstrate relevant skills or assets. But these a***holes don't actually have any useful skills (and they usually have the a**e hanging out of their trousers).

        That kind of undeserving.

  4. Da Weezil

    Just another example of how politicians exist to funnel OUR money to their business owning friends. Its all about the Govt: business pork barrel redistributing wealth upwards, while stripping away rights and security from those at the lower end.

    This should be in house as should all Government functions, we don't have the right to stop our data being farmed out to these asshats, so if it is obtained by compulsion it should be kept away from the private sector and that includes stuff like the DVLA database.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. theModge

    give me a £1 Million

    and I'll write you something that goes though a database and sends a text message to everyone in there. For that money you even get a text box to enter your choice of text message....

    Come on. great example of the governments intended use of SMB's for more projects. I could even absorb the cost of sending a couple of million messages for that....

    1. theblackhand

      Re: give me a £1 Million

      You're actually planning on delivering a working system?

      But that will remove the requirement for an inquiry into why the system failed and had huge cost over runs.

      With dramatic cuts like that in the civil service, the whole system could fall apart....

  7. JaitcH

    The company (Capita) is paid according to the number of people told to leave.

    Wow, this is a BIG opening for fraud - just bonus so trackers, have then claim 'hits' and Capita make yet another fortune from the British taxpayer.

    Ever notice just how small the government's contract telephone list. White collar - Capita; Red collar - G4S. If these companies can locate end contractors who will do the job so cheaply why can't the government go for bids?

    Another point, what assurances do people have that these ultimate contractors can be trusted with hot data that could be sold on? It is no secret that tax preparer make additional income by selling 100% accurate data to credit agencies. Likewise with insured medical services and medications.

    The government seems oblivious to the fact that data is worth BIG MONEY.

  8. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge


    Since the UK border agency knows where the people overstaying their visas are......... why not send some officials out and remove them since they are here illegally.....

    Oh I forgot

    There'd be no money for private companies, and wages would rise because there would be no easily exploited group of people willingly to work for peanuts and not say anything

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well

      My point exactly,

      Why the hell are we not going around, arresting these people and locking them up if they have no right to be in this country??

      Isn't it great when the police arrest an illegal, they then get handed over to immigration who then give them details of when to report to an immigration centre and let them on their merry way (or they have conveniently lost their passport) for removal and surprise surprise, they do not show up?

      Getting tough on these people is not racism as some claim, its about dealing with people who are breaking the law.

      Back to the article, another great waste of money but are you surprised?

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        Re: Well

        "Isn't it great when the police arrest an illegal, they then get handed over to immigration who then give them details of when to report to an immigration centre and let them on their merry way (or they have conveniently lost their passport) for removal and surprise surprise, they do not show up?"

        Actually that's what happens if they commit minor crimes.

        If they do serious time in the UK (rape, drugs offenses, murder, GBH) they get let out.

        You might expect the BA to be outside the gates to put them straight into a van to the airport.


        Anyone remember the El Reg coverage of the planned unified prison/parole/rehab system and the NAO's description as (IIRC) "A masterclass in bad project management"?

        Again I consider this behavior as unacceptable as the cancelling of DNA tests (to check if fake children were being brought into the EU) because it was finding that most children declared were the offspring of the listed parent.

        This Kafkaesque system, which condemns people (with or without just cause to remain) to years of uncertainty must end.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Capita are a brilliant company

    And so are G4S, Equita. Hey Birmingham City Council have even outsourced to India! God bless outsourcing and God bless privatisation - as long as we don't have any of that competition nonsense, which will put the ignorant public in a position of power. Anyone who DARES to even express any conceron about it, is clearly either a communist, or BNP member, and should be fined for treason. Now can we please outsource those idiotic bastions of socialism, the Police Forces and Army.

  10. Amorous Cowherder


    "I do not think it is money for old rope. If you look at the essence of what Capita endeavours to do, the specialisms that we have are all about process management and trying to run operations in the most efficient way that we can."

    To which I would have said. "You seem to have managed to use an unfeasibly large number of words to say absolutely fuck all of any worth! Now, take a deep breath and let's try to answer the question again shall we?"

    1. mark 63 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Sorry?

      Spot on.

      We should have a "Public transparency Enforcer" , to make sure Politicians and other suits responsible for public money are made to speak english, and answer the question.

      ...maybe involving mild electric shocks triggerd by a list of buzzwords

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sorry?

        Why would they have to mild?

        1. Cpt Blue Bear

          Re: Sorry?

          Because it's more entertaining that way. You don't want it over too soon. Well, in most cases you don't.

          It could start off mild and ramp up with each offense. Or buzzwords could be graded according overuse, weaseliness, bastardisation of the english language, etc.

  11. John 98

    Waste of time

    As a former prison chaplaincy volunteer, I can confirm that the Border Agency ignore any queries about possible deportation of foreign nationals being released, regularly supply duff info. to courts (to the extent that judges ask custody officers to comment before believing anything) and concentrate on deporting working families because that's the easiest way to make the stats look good. Oh, and their database isn't worth the rust it's written on. I don't think Capita will make much unless they've drafted the contract VERY carefully

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    didn't the border agency....

    send a load of text messages to people who had UK passports? If Capita wants to make a bucket load of money, wouldn't it just spam everyone on the passport database as well? £4m for 300,000 text messages and just think of the profit of sending 60 million odd.

    I genuinely don't know why Crapita still gets work

  13. Xeno2097

    UKBA don't have a clue

    Yep, I got one of the UKAB text telling me I was a illegal immigrant, was mildly amused and thought it might be a scam text, till I phoned the UKAB to check.

    Last time I checked i was born in the UK, as were as many generations as I've ever managed to trace back of my family.

    I'm surprised they haven't farmed out the job to some Mumbai call center yet, like those annoying PPI texts you get all the time.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just a thought...

    ...but wouldn't it have been more useful for the MPs to ask these questions before the contract was awarded?

  15. Someone Else Silver badge


    "Specialisms" is the new "Synergies"....

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two words, unminced

    Feckin' wankers

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wondering why

    UKBA can't offload undesirables to where they belong? Thank Cherie Blair. She's the one who made millions pushing human rights laws through Brussels that bind the hands of the people trying desperately to get rid of people who don't belong here.

    Anon cos...

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