Minister reveals just eight out of 360 workers on Home Office project are civil servants
Just eight out of the 360 staff working on the construction of the government’s £250m immigration IT system are civil servants, it has emerged.
In a recent written parliamentary statement, immigration minister Caroline Nokes said that the other 352 people “working on the construction of the Immigration Platform Technologies programme” are classified as “contingent labour”. This equates to 97.8% of the total workforce.
A further statement from minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability Victoria Atkins indicated that some of the roles staffed by the temps and contractors include programme managers, digital delivery managers, programme directors, and digital business designers.
The Immigration Platform Technologies (IPT) programme was launched in 2014, shortly after the cancellation of the Immigration Case Work (ICW) programme to implement a new platform for processing immigration, visa, and asylum applications. According to a National Audit Office report published at the time, ICW was shut down by the Home Office “having achieved much less than planned, at a cost of £347m”.
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IPT – which was scheduled wrap up during the 2016/17 year and cost £208.7m – was designed to avoid the failures of the past by following an agile approach.
“The Home Office IPT programme is building functionality to transform the way the Home Office manages immigration into the United Kingdom,” said commercial documents published at the launch of the project. “The system will be used by Home Office staff based in the UK and in consulates across the globe, and by all applicants for visa or immigration services.”
The scheme is replacing a legacy estate of five separate systems with one platform to manage all applications and subsequent case work.
As of the most recently published annual report from the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, the scheme’s estimated whole-life cost had grown to £252.5m. The completion date had also been revised to 31 March 2019. For the second year in a row, the authority gave the project an amber rating.
According to the IPA’s traffic-light system, this means that: “Successful delivery appears feasible but significant issues already exist, requiring management attention. These appear resolvable at this stage and, if addressed promptly, should not present a cost/schedule overrun.”