The future of public services: digital borders

Document type
Borrows, Maisie; Hitchcock, Alexander
Date of publication
3 July 2017
Social Policy
Social welfare
Material type

Download (820KB )

This report looks at the transformative role technology will play in the future delivery of public services.

The UK is an increasingly popular place to trade and visit. This is a good thing, but must be matched by a border capable of securely processing visitors and efficiently facilitating trade. Leaving the EU customs union would quadruple the number of customs checks required at the border – to 390 million a year. The number of people travelling to the UK each year – currently 123 million – is set to double by 2050.

Better information sharing and technology is required to meet traveller demands. Receiving passenger information before people board planes, trains or boats leaving for the UK can help border forces more quickly process passengers – through facial-recognition e-gates, for example. Better information can also stop suspect travellers entering the country, even before they leave countries to travel. In 2015, fewer than one third of people refused access to the UK were done so before they travelled.

Sharing data through new technology can improve the efficiency and security of trade entering the UK. Some of this is still paper based. Digital portals, with real-time information sharing through Internet of Things censors, can provide details of travel routes and cargo status – allowing border forces to more accurately target suspect cargo. This can cut some inspection times from six hours to 12 minutes. It could also improve tax receipts: between 2013 and 2016 the UK underestimated the volume of Chinese textiles entering the country, losing €2 billion of tax receipts.

More from Social welfare collection

Related to Social Policy

Open public services - better public services

This report presents case studies to show where privatised services and those in public ownership have succeeded and failed. The report finds that competition only works when there is a realistic prospect

Managing to improve public services

This report offers an introduction to work that the AIM Fellows have recently undertaken on management topics related to one or more of five priority issues within public services reform. The priority

The future of public services

A speech by Rt Hon Ben Gummer MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General.The public sector needs reform now more than ever before. Despite the efforts of successive administrations,

Value in public services

This report argues that a new concept of value is needed to form the basis for reform of public services. Five elements of value, against which services should be judged, are identified: user value;

More items related to this subject

Related to Reform

Inclusive by default

Report on creating inclusive digital public services

Advanced technology to support research innovation and economic growth in the UK

Policy briefing on opportunities in advancing technology

More items related to this publisher