The Government acknowledges that IT systems are not ready for Brexit: border chaos looms


A leaked document, circulated by the Cabinet Office’s Border and Protocol Delivery Group, warns that the IT systems at the UK border are not ready to ensure the smooth flow of goods after Brexit. These essential IT systems face a race against time to be ready to process the changing haulier regulations after Brexit, but the government’s preparations are hindered by “critical gaps” in the process.

Many of the new IT systems are just in the development stage, leaving only four months for these to be completed and tested. Complications at the border will bring massive delays to haulage and wider economic implications. The government’s Smart Freight System is designed to avert supply chain disaster, but this is dependent on its ability to process the huge amount of data stemming from the movement across the border – something which, at the moment, the system is not able to do.

The success of the Smart Freight System will be determined by its capability to manage the swathes of data that run through the system. Whilst the exact details are still somewhat unclear, it is certain that the system will need to be integrated with the relevant tax authorities to ensure a smooth passage. This will be a delicate process, and one that will depend on the digital ecosystem set in place, and the connectors at its core.

A siloed approach will not work here with the need for access to real-time data. Core legacy applications across government departments need to be open via APIs to enable emerging technologies to enter into the architecture, to help digitally capture information at the borders. To ensure a single “track and trace” view of freight, clean and trusted data must be captured into a single master data hub to record critical information. These systems need to be able to capture, prepare and process the data within, to ensure swift processing times and avoid traffic deadlock.