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Consultants bag £37m from failed e-Borders contract

Project reopening to tender

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The Home Office paid more than £37m to just one consultancy for advice on the e-Borders contract, which was torn up by the coalition after the election.

The advisory payments to Deloitte compare to the £750m cost of the floundering project to record details of every traveller into and out of the UK.

Trusted Borders, the Raytheon-led consortium of technology companies appointed by Labour to implement the system, was sacked by Theresa May in July over previously undisclosed delays of more than 12 months.

Deloitte began advising the government on e-Borders in September 2005, and played a key role in the design of the complex contract with Trusted Borders. By mid-2008 taxpayers had paid £23.8m for the consultancy

Today only two consultants from the firm remain on the programme, tidying up the failed contract with Trusted Borders.

The Home Office today reaffirmed it is committed to the e-Borders programme, and said the massive contract will be reopened to tender. During the original bidding process, Trusted Borders' only rival was a consortium led by BT.

"The new government is determined to make sure that we control our borders but schemes like e-Borders have to represent value for money for the taxpayer," a Home office spokesman said.

Deloitte apparently remains proud of its role in the failed contract. A case study (pdf) on its website boasts: "Throughout the engagement Deloitte ... enabled the programme to develop an integrated, multi-disciplinary team who were highly motivated, professional and delivery-focused."

The amount paid out to KPMG, which also consulted on e-Borders, isn't yet known. ®

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