Costing £1 billion and 8 years late - will e-Borders ever be delivered?

The running sore that is the e-Borders programme is continuing to cause trouble and is starting to look at a classic of the poorly thought through government IT procurement project genre. At current projections, alongside its successor programme, it will cost over a billion pounds, be delivered 8 years late, and not provide the expected benefits.

This particular scandalous display of incompetence shows many of the tropes we have come to expect from these projects. The contracting out of the programme was poor and the cancellation of the contract with Raytheon is a major part of the delay. Initial targets on timescales and cost were unrealistic and requirements changed over time.

Today's report from the Public Accounts Committee is simply damning. It notes that nobody has yet taken responsibility for the problems with the scheme and expresses concern that officials were consistently dismissive of warnings. Again and again with these problems, a high turnover of senior managers is cited as a source of many problems and having had eight programme directors in its history, e-Borders has been one of the worst cases.

That the problems with these projects have become so predictable, consistently following a similar pattern is alarming. Though progress has been made in how the government manages major projects, there is still significant room for improvement.

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