Deloitte wins deal worth up to £100M for UK border platform

Post-Brexit strategy set to replace legacy of patchwork systems

The UK's tax collector has awarded Deloitte a deal worth up to £100 million ($127 million) to provide a digital gateway for businesses getting goods across UK borders as part of its strategy for post-Brexit trade.

The global consultancy bagged the three-year contract to help design, build, operate and maintain "a market-leading digital platform," the so-called "Single Trade Window" (STW), which the government hopes will create a single gateway for all data from traders.

According to a tender notice, Deloitte will "need to work flexibly with the STW Programme and its delivery partners across [government] departments to ensure the service design and delivery of the STW is fit for now and for the future, to enable the range of ambitious border transformations that Government is undertaking."

Instead of going to open competition, the deal was awarded as a call-off from a pre-existing framework agreement, Technology Services 3.

The STW is described in the 2025 UK Border Strategy [PDF], launched in December 2020, following the 2019 election of Boris Johnson as prime minister, who promised to "get Brexit done."

Following the UK's practical departure from the EU at the end of the 2021 transition period, open border arrangements with the EU, by far the nation's largest trading partner, came to an end and border checkers came into place.

The UK had relied on a patchwork of systems to check goods at the border and record information required by customs and traders. Among them was Chief, a system introduced in 1994 and set to be decommissioned by June 2023, owing to the delayed 10-year project to replace it with IBM's Customs Declaration Service.

"The STW is a fundamental enabler for future change at the border," the tender document says. "It will deliver a set of technology capabilities that make a range of border policy changes possible that were historically not feasible due to the disparate sources of border data across government."

Systems currently used to record data about goods at the border – which include those from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs – is "not optimised to share useful data between departments," according to the government strategy. The STW is modeled on systems employed by other governments around the world, including New Zealand. ®

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