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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.

1 comment:

  1. Reported in the Guardian, 26th September 2014
    http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2014/sep/26/universal-credit-undeliverable-says-former-head-of-the-civil-service

    "Universal credit 'undeliverable' says former head of the civil service

    Sir Bob Kerslake bows out with a dig at the culture of deference that failed to recognise flaws in benefit reform.

    Sir Bob Kerslake, the former head of the civil service, has said that the timetable for the government’s controversial universal credit benefits scheme was “too tight” and that a “culture of good news” in the Department for Work and Pensions prevented this being recognised.

    Making his valedictory speech on 25 September to an audience of senior civil servants and politicians at the Institute for Government, Kerslake, who stepped down in July as head of the civil service but stays on until the end of February 2015 as permanent secretary of the Department for Communities and Local Government, said universal credit was “undeliverable” in the timetable originally set out by the DWP, but that this was not recognised in time by the department, because of a prevailing culture of deference within the civil service.

    In 2013, the plan to introduce universal credit, which has been described as involving “fiendishly complicated calculations” had to be “reset to zero”, after more than £600m had been spent. "

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