The Home Office has awarded a £650m contract to develop and implement its e-borders project to a consortium led by US firm Raytheon.
The e-borders scheme will collect and analyse air, sea and rail passenger data on people entering and leaving the UK before they travel, allowing law enforcement agencies to compare it against immigration, customs and police watchlists on a real-time basis.
It is part of the government's £1.2bn programme to strengthen border controls, which will see a new UK Borders Agency operate immigration, visa and customs checks.
Raytheon will act as prime contractor for the contract, with responsibility for systems integration, travel services and overall project management. The Trusted Borders consortium also involves Accenture, Detica, Serco, QinetiQ, Steria, Capgemini and DAON.
Serco will provide infrastructure and service management, Accenture will focus on business change and Detica is to provide the analytics capability. The business architecture, including the design of business processes, will be handled by Capgemini, while Steria will be responsible for developing the agency's interfaces.
The trusted Borders team beat off competition from a rival BT-led consortium involving Lockheed Martin, LogicaCMG, HP, Anite and ARINC.
Ovum analyst Georgina O'Toole said: "Those that assumed the Home Office would favour a 'British' bid - favouring BT – have been proven wrong, and in our view were misguided in their prediction. Raytheon might be a US-headquartered company but it has 1,600 employees in the UK and will carry out the lion's share of this contract 'onshore'.”
The location of a bidding company's headquarters was “becoming increasingly irrelevant” as suppliers adopted global delivery models, she said.
“The second assumption will be that BT lost on price,” O’Toole said. “Granted, BT is unlikely to have underbid on this contract and, equally, it would not be unheard of for a company like Raytheon, which has traditionally focused on systems development for frontline defence equipment, to bid low in order to get its first major win in a new market.
“However, for a contract of this size, a whole raft of factors will have come into play and Trusted Borders might have 'scored' higher in a number of areas.”
Raytheon’s team might have offered a “stronger front-end consultancy capability” and had the edge in major programme management credibility, she suggested.
“Perhaps most significantly, Trusted Borders brings to the contract significant experience of the equivalent US VISIT programme, to which it provides systems engineering and biometrics support and plays a lead role in deployment activities,” O’Toole said, adding that Accenture led the $10bn (£5bn) VISIT contract.