back to article UK Home Office hands Sopra Steria £91m digital visa contract

The Home Office has awarded Sopra Steria a £91m contract to develop a digital visa and immigration service in the UK. The French outsourcer will take on the contract in October 2018 – the latest in a raft of recently signed deals intended to cope with processing immigration status post-Brexit, particularly for the 3 million EU …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Somebody's got to say it: taking back control.

    1. zero-gravitas

      Queue stampy feet toddler tantrums.

  2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Not cheap.

    That's £1.5million per location. I think I could do it cheaper.

    1. Put photobooth and postbox in each location.

    2. Ask applicants to put papers in envelope and post in box.

    3. At end of each day pay someone for a couple of hours work (minimum wage) to pop in, take the paperwork out of the box, photocopy it, pop a 2nd class stamp on and post it to the Home Office (who will probably destroy it)

    3,000,000 stamps and envelopes = about £2million.

    30,000,000 photocopies @ 5p/copy = £1.5Million

    Labour: 5 x 52 days, 2hrs day, 60 centres @ £7.50 p.h. = £225,000 per year

    Less profit from photobooths.

    4. Profit!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not cheap.

      You’re forgetting step 0.5 - employ 50 strategy consultants for 12 months to plan what needs to be done and how before following steps 1 to 4.

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: Not cheap.

        Nope, they're step 4. A large team of consultants including M Mouse, D Mouse, B Lightyear, and S Vimes, all invoiced via Pen-y-Gors Holdings LLC of the Cayman Islands. Obviously my own time on the project will be charged at minimum wage, so as to avoid excessive impact on the public purse.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Taking Back Control....

    So.....blue passports from Germany.

    So.....immigration services outsourced to France.

    *

    What next? HMG cheaper if contracted to Brussels?

    *

    I think we should be told!

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Taking Back Control....

      You can imagine the episode of Yes Minister just writing itself...

  4. MrKrotos

    "Taking Back Control"

    What a joke, "control" of the contracts?

    Why not use a UK based company for both the passports and immigration services?

  5. Anonymous Coward
  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its just not right

    Like it or not, It does not matter which way you voted in the referendum, the vote to leave won, article 50 has been triggered, we are leaving.

    The whole point of leaving was to make the United Kingdom stronger without the dead weight of Eurocracy. A simple principle should be to keep jobs and money inside the United Kingdom. So what's the first thing the government do? They give the job of making our passports and visa applications to a French company.

    Just on principle they should be made in the UK, but for the greater good of the UK, even if it was to cost more, it should be done by a UK company, supporting UK workers, keeping UK money within the UK strengthening the UK economy in the shadow of the inevitable decline following the vote to leave.

    I fully expect a flood of down votes from the remoaners, but this is about moving forward, making the best out of it. Doing what's best for the country despite leaving the EU. All government contracts should be done by UK companies unless its not possible, and it being a little cheaper is not a good reason.

    1. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: Its just not right

      "I fully expect a flood of down votes from the remoaners, but this is about moving forward, making the best out of it. Doing what's best for the country despite leaving the EU."

      So in this wonderful non-EU future we will be "making the best of it" "despite leaving the EU".

      Really? This is the best you can say, that if we struggle hard it might not be quite so bad?

      And you dare to whinge about 'remoaners'?

      1. ArrZarr Silver badge

        Re: Its just not right

        @Christoph,

        If we struggle hard, it might not be so bad. It may even be better than if we stayed in the EU.

        I don't hold out much hope for that but the sentiment in the OP's post is that this is happening so we should do our best to make it work. Once it's failed, we can, at least feel smug when we tell the leavers that we told them so but until then we should be working on the vanishingly slim chance of it being successful.

    2. Lord M4x

      Re: Its just not right

      Well, the contract was awarded to Gemalto because, under EU law, there has to be an open and public procurement process for government contracts. The best 'value for money' / most adequate provider wins.

      It may surprise you that the UK is still actually in the EU and therefore must obey its laws.

      After Brexit, the UK can have DIY passports etc and queues outside embassies for visas to use the channel tunnel or cross the border into Ireland.

      However, these countries may retain their right to refuse admission to economic migrants holding UK passports trying to escape and find a job that pays more than TATA is prepared to offer.

      I'll get my coat :)

      1. Why Not?

        Re: Its just not right

        Not entirely right - a country can specify the requirement is security sensitive and over rule the tender process. That is what the other countries do.

        1. Lord M4x

          Re: Its just not right

          Yes, 'Why not', absolutely correct about the security sensitive aspect.

          (However, given that even HM prison system is privatised in the UK, "national security" would be a tough argument to make credible.)

      2. JohnG

        Re: Its just not right

        "...the contract was awarded to Gemalto because, under EU law, there has to be an open and public procurement process for government contracts. The best 'value for money' / most adequate provider wins.

        It may surprise you that the UK is still actually in the EU and therefore must obey its laws."

        We should have copied the EC. After the Brexit vote and many months before Article 50 was invoked, the EC quietly introduced a "Brexit clause" into the contracts of their new procurements. These clauses state something to the effect that contractors and their sub-contractors must demonstrate that they would be allowed to operate/supply goods and services within the single market after Brexit. The next part of these clauses states that if a contractor becomes non-compliant, the contract will be terminated and the contractor must reimburse the EC for the costs of a new procurement.

        We could simply apply UK versions of the EC's Brexit clauses to scare off EU27 companies who do not have a presence in the UK, just as the EC has done e.g. with their last Galileo procurement.

    3. smudge Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Its just not right

      Doing what's best for the country despite leaving the EU. All government contracts should be done by UK companies unless its not possible

      So you'd be OK with the many, many other countries for which De La Rue produces passports and banknotes taking those contracts elsewhere?

    4. colinb

      Re: Its just not right

      Sopra Steria has UK sites, like IBM the american company has, so presume when you say UK company you mean UK owned companies?

      Where are these wholly owned UK companies that you think are capable of doing that contract?

      There are just 2 UK owned software companies in the FTSE 100, Micro Focus ( the old peoples home of software) and Sage (worst SDK i've ever used)

      For IT Consulting in UK the largest are PWC, E&Y and Deloitte. The tend to sub contract to contractors for the tough stuff.

      the rest include Altran, Atos, CapGemini, Sogeti and Sopra Steria all of Paris, France. Then the like of Accenture, Dublin and Indra, Spain (of TSB fame)

      There are a number of 100-200 person companies in the UK that would do custom software but frankly they probably don't have the financial buffer they would need to deal with the Government garbage they will have to sort through, least of all for a urgent project within the next 12 months.

      You think Brexit will improve this?

      When May says a 'Free and Open Economy' what do you think that means? It means everything is for sale at a price.

    5. John 98

      jw@resthaven.org.uk

      Just not right? You are possibly forgetting that our underfunded education system and poor planning has now left us with a minute skills base. So ther is probably nobody left to do the job here, certainly not in a rush. As to the vote on Brexit, the Leavers need reminding of their lies about cake and eat it etc. A large chunk of the 52% voted for that and not for the hard Brexit the fanatics are pushing. So the Remain vote was the largest and it's the only viable option anyway

    6. Dr_N Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Its just not right

      @AC Its just not right

      Awwww. Boo hoo hoo.

      I wonder at what point people will finally start realising that (unlike the 30 year narrative from the brextremist press) the problems the UK faces are mostly internal.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Given the rate at which local libraries are being closed I think I can see one problem already.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Given the rate at which local libraries are being closed I think I can see one problem already."

      No, it'll be alright. They'll be kept open by plucky volunteers.

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