From the Man Who Sues God to the Company Who Sues Government

Whilst the government being sued is certainly not a new phenomenon, this newest case is a whole new challenge for the Coalition government. Immigration has always been seen as at the heart of the Conservative ideologies and manifestos over many years so it is to be expected that deadlines must be strictly adhered to and companies will be replaced for not meeting their targets. Raytheon was responsible for the e-border immigration system and was commissioned by the last Labour government. It is a £750m system designed to collate all existing and future information on one single database in regards to passengers leaving and entering Britain. The target for this is 2014 but there were many intermittent deadlines which had to be met, among which were those in 2009 that were apparently not met adequately.

Tardiness was also apparently responsible for pushing future deadlines back by almost a year and the consequence was Raytheon’s contract being terminated and a replacement being put in place. Nonetheless, as expected, Raytheon describe events slightly differently. As with most civil cases, there is a large discrepancy on the description of events and Raytheon believe that the decision to terminate the contract was not only unjustified but also unlawful. They believe the primary stage to have been completed when required by May 2009 and that delays in the second stage can actually be blamed on the Border Agency being indecisive and not outlining decisively the scope of their requirements.

As we have no access to the contract, it is impossible to advocate for who is legally correct and whether the termination of contract was, in fact,

Statue of Lady Justice
Whose side will the law fall on?

unlawful. What we can advocate though is that this contract was ended within two months of the Coalition taking over from Labour; whether the termination of the contract was legal or not, this does not negate the fact that the current Coalition are taking a much tougher line on contractors than the last Labour government. Perhaps we can now see where so much of the public finances actually went; companies being given large contracts and disregarding deadlines and budgets. If the termination of the contract was unlawful due to clauses in the contract but the deadlines were not met as quoted, this merely makes Labour’s attitudes worse in my mind. How can they accept in law and in reality, clauses not being built into contracts where unacceptable workmanship, professionalism or pace is not a term for terminating a contract.

I must state that I am not claiming Raytheon as a company to have displayed unacceptable levels of any of the above as we do not have access to the full amount of obligations and cannot tell whether or not they have breached their duties. I do, however, believe that any companies that do display these unacceptable traits should not be paid out of tax-payer’s money to dawdle and not meet deadlines. They are not just working for the government; they are working for society and all within it and it seems they need to remember this.


Posted on August 31, 2011, in Coalition Government, Comment, Conservative Party, Party Politics and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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