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Wed, 30 September 2020

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Beyond a line on a map: The future of UK border security


4 min read Partner content

Every month millions of people and tens of billions of pounds worth of goods cross the border into the UK — a process that involves 27 government departments and the support of numerous private contractors. As the UK is getting ready to begin a £705 million revamp of its border control infrastructure as part of its Brexit preparations, Leidos UK CTO Simon Daykin sat down with Politics Home to talk about the company's experience with managing such large-scale digital transformations.

Empowering agencies with secure information sharing

“As passenger volumes increase, and as more checks need to be done in the UK post-Brexit, the only way to deal with this is to shift to new systems and technologies," Daykin explained, addressing comments from Kevin Foster, the UK immigration minister.

As Kevin explained, “one of the drivers behind the new point based system is that immigration law has grown increasingly complex over the years and that this has manifested in the legacy systems and processes that make user experience and information harder to attain, to engage individuals and for government to make better decisions.

Daykin’s responded “One of the key results is to no longer see the border as just a line on the map, but to move towards sharing passenger information electronically in advance, so that the border process can start while still at home making user experience easier and transparent and to give government more time to make the right decisions"

In addition to allowing the faster transition of people through crossing points when they arrive in the UK, advance information sharing helps authorities to better manage security risks before people arrive on UK soil. Secure data management systems enable collating personal information from multiple sources and sharing it with a range of relevant agencies.

“When you identify yourself for electronic travel authorization, it can be linked to verified biometric data, such as your passport," Daykin said. “That can then be continually referenced and validated as you move across a border — via iris-scanning, facial recognition, or gait analysis — to increase confidence in your identity."

The secure handling of sensitive personal data, in compliance with data protection regulations, is something Leidos has extensive experience with. Daykin pointed to the company's long term partnerships with both the UK and US governments on biometric technology and data integration systems.

Shared and secure access to a passenger's consolidated data-stream not only enables improved identity verification and tracking, but also supports informed decision-making across all agencies with an interest in the flow of people into the UK.

In addition, “taking a holistic view across that entire journey allows you to also support health tracking —the obvious example at the moment being COVID-19," Daykin explained. “You would be able to use a combination of journey history, infrared cameras, and other track and trace information to identify people who are quarantine concerns."

A collaborative effort

Throughout development and ongoing operation, collaboration between all the agencies and industry is essential to maximize the potential of the new UK border infrastructure.

“Leidos has collaboration as one of its core values, and it's something we practice across all of our customers," Daykin said. "Having collaborative methodologies that allow organizations to work together on delivering complex outcomes, and to respond flexibly as requirements change, in our experience drives results and helps deliver outcomes on time."

In 2017, Leidos became one of the first companies to receive the ISO 440001 accreditation for collaborative working. It's a recognition of our commitment to such an approach, and our support for the agile software development methodology and DevOps practices embraced by the Government Digital Service in the UK.

Learn more about the UK’s proposed new immigration point based systems from Home Office Minister, Kevin Foster and Leidos's capabilities in border management services by listening to the podcast episode on Politics Home.

For more information, click here.

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