Nearly £1 billion wasted on two failed IT projects has left the Home Office reliant on archaic infrastructure, it is claimed.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) today released a damning report on the consequences of two scrapped IT schemes, the e-Borders system and the Immigration Case Work system.
Almost £1bn was sunk into the Home Office’s canned schemes, the report said, yet the department now cannot track people through the immigration system to ensure those with no right to remain in the UK are deported.
PAC chair Margaret Hodge MP said: "The department should, as a matter of urgency, take more steps to identify people that remain in the UK illegally and speed up their removal.
"The failure of major IT projects designed to streamline process not only leaves the department reliant on archaic systems but may also end up costing the taxpayer up to £1 billion.
"The cancellation of the Immigration Case Work programme and the e-Borders IT programme could mean a gobsmackingly awful figure being wasted."
The e-Borders contract was terminated four years ago after having £260m spent on it, and the Home Office has now been ordered to pay another £224m in costs for unlawful termination.
Immigration Case Work was supposed to launch in March this year to provide a single place to store interactions between a caseworker and an immigrant, but was cancelled in August 2013 with costs reaching £347m.
Now the Home Office is replacing the failed ICW system with a new programme, called Immigration Platform Technologies, expected to cost £209m over four years by 2017.
The failure of the two systems means the Home Office cannot automate data compilation on individual cases, and so must manually cleanse data.
PAC urged the department to check it has the right number of staff with suitable skills, adding that it must improve data quality immediately.
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