The Border Delivery Group – the unit overseeing the government’s plans for the UK border after the Brexit transition period – has moved from HM Revenue and Customs to the Cabinet Office.
The team will now be known as the Border and Protocol Delivery Group, the prime minister announced yesterday.
“This change is effective immediately and will help to ensure readiness of the border for the end of the transition period and lay the foundations for the best border in the world by 2025,” Boris Johnson told MPs.
Existing ministerial responsibilities for the group remain unchanged, he said.
The group coordinates, supports and oversees work by government departments and agencies to address challenges to post-Brexit border security, revenue and trade.
In the last five months, the BDG has sought several new personnel including a technical director of future borders; a deputy director for EU transition readiness and engagement; a deputy director for EU roads relationship and monitoring; and a future borders programme director.
It is currently hiring for an information systems assurance deputy director, who will be responsible for assuring the border planning executive group, the transition portfolio board, ministers and the cabinet-level XO committee that departments are delivering their transition period border-related IT changes.
They must ensure “robust contingency plans” are in place and that systems are fully tested to ensure they are ready for the new regime.
The job advert for the up to £90,000-a-year role described the BDG as a “high-profile place to work in government”, and its work as “exciting and challenging”.
“You will be part of a small but influential team supporting work of critical importance. It provides significant opportunities for those wishing to work in a flexible, dynamic, fast paced environment,” the ad promised.
The BDG’s move took place alongside another machinery of government change, which saw the Home Office take responsibility for the Official Secrets Act.
The move out of the Ministry of Justice, was to “align with wider Home Office work on counter hostile state activity legislation”, Johnson said.
Full post-Brexit border checks deferred
The announcement came as it was reported the government was preparing to abandon plans for full border checks with the European Union on January 1 in favour of a “flexible” approach.
According to the Financial Times, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has accepted businesses will be unable to cope with the challenges presented by both the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit-related disruption at the border once the UK’s transition period with the bloc comes to an end.
The arrangements for industrial and agricultural goods will reportedly be in place for six months, with only controlled goods expected to face immediate checks.
The Treasury will meanwhile allow VAT payments to be deferred for months after goods have been landed, the FT reported.
CSW has approached the Cabinet Office for comment on the BDG's move.