Border Crossing Rollout On The PCP: Third Time Lucky?

16 Oct 2020

Details of the third proposed attempt to roll out Border Crossing to PCPs around the country.

The new system on the PCP is called Border Crossing, but often wrongly referred to as DSAB (DSAB is the name of the unit that developed the system). There have clearly been multiple ongoing issues that have prevented its successful rollout since 2018, but now there is a final deadline of 30th June 2021, when the grace period ends for the implementation of Border Crossing, and the system replaces Legacy systems on the Primary Control (PCP).


Phase 1 – November 2020 - Private Beta Test – Edinburgh Terminals 1 and 2

Phase 2 – From January 2021 - ‘Medium Impact’ followed by ‘High Impact’ Ports

Phase 3 – From April 2021 - All remaining ports starting with those with the greatest impact


Each port will nominate its own Lead, and will be in charge of its own training programme before rollout.

From January 2021 Super Users will be given theoretical and practical training lasting 5-6 hours.

The Super Users will support the training of front-line staff in Border Crossing, using e-learning and practical training that should take 5-6 hours. The training is pass/fail and no one who has not passed the training will be allowed access to Border Crossing.

System support and functionality

Border Crossing will initially operate from 8-8, with 24-hour coverage planned for April 2021.

When the system rolls out DSAB will provide support for the first week in each port.

The system undertakes a more thorough search than its predecessor, however that does mean that some types of name searches will take some time to search for, and on rare occasions this can lead to the system timing out after 45 seconds searching.

The proposed rollout only applies to the PCP. Future rollouts of Border Crossing to Immigration Enforcement and UKVI areas are still to receive a formal timetable.

PCS concerns

  • PCS is only too well aware of the pitfalls awaiting these proposals, and the cynicism with which many staff view any HOIT creation. Given what we are told is the necessity of this succeeding we will have to wait and see.
  • During the first attempted rollout in 2018 regions delayed appropriate training beyond that advised by DSAB due to perceived operational pressures. Operational demands are currently high with quarantine measures in place and the ability to plan accurately is reduced, so regions would be wise to plan as well and as flexibly as they can, or history could repeat itself. In the midst of a pandemic with operational requirements changing from day to day let alone over months PCS has concerns that the same mistakes will be made in this iteration of the rollout.
  • The second attempted rollout in 2019 ceased due to unforeseen technical issues. It is hoped that this also does not reoccur, and that any technical areas that have the potential to derail this rollout have been addressed. Again this remains to be seen. 

To give them credit DSAB have already recognised that previous attempts at rollout were guilty of over optimism about overcoming what were technical challenges. It is however now the case that there is an imperative to complete rollout by June 2021, and lessons have hopefully been learnt from previous problems. On this occasion we believe that undertakings have been given that Border Crossing will definitely be in place by June 30 2021, and so the margin for error is now very small indeed. If members have any concerns over either the proposed training, the new system itself, or the timetable of the roll-out please approach a PCS rep or the authors of this circular. Meanwhile we will seek to keep members updated with any developments in the 2020/21 roll-out of ‘Border Crossing’.

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