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Tuesday, 3 June 2014

£140m wasted: Universal Credit redefined as "new project", so severe are the IT failures, delays and redesigns

SOURCE GUARDIAN: Back to the drawing board: Duncan Smith’s Universal Credit redefined as 'new project' after successive delays
Universal credit, the government's recasting of the welfare benefits system, has had to be reorganised so fundamentally that the government watchdog responsible for grading its implementation has judged that it is now an entirely new project. In its annual assessment of the implementation of nearly 200 major infrastructure projects, the Major Projects Authority (MPA) has listed universal credit as "reset", the only one to be listed as going back to the drawing board. The scheme has been dogged with IT design faults, leading to successive delays. Universal credit is the flagship project of Iain Duncan Smith's Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Ministers started implementing it three years ago, and have been criticised by successive watchdogs for failing to come clean about the problems the DWP has experienced with the technology.
SOURCE SKY NEWS: Universal Credit Scheme 'Has Lost Over £140m'
Iain Duncan Smith's flagship welfare reform, the Universal Credit Programme, has been savaged by MPs for "shocking" failures that have already wasted at least £140m. The scheme has been blighted by "alarmingly weak" management, with secretaries allowed to authorise purchase orders worth more than £20m. In some cases it is unclear what suppliers have been paid for. The cross-party Public Accounts Committee also voiced doubts about whether the project can still be fully delivered by 2017 - branding a pilot "inadequate" and open to fraud. Universal credit is due to replace a bundle of means-tested benefits, with Work and Pensions Secretary Mr Duncan Smith insisting it can ensure people are always better off in jobs and save £38bn by 2023.

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