Universal Credit is the DWP's single biggest programme and enjoys cross-party support, yet its implementation has been extraordinarily poor. The failure to develop a comprehensive plan has led to extensive delay and the waste of a yet to be determined amount of public money. Ap425 million has been spent so far on the programme. It is likely that much of this, including at least Ap140 million worth of IT assets, will now have to be written off. Lack of day-to-day control meant early warning signs were missed, with senior managers becoming aware of problems only through ad hoc reviews. Pressure to deliver a programme of this magnitude within such an ambitious timescale created a fortress culture where only good news was reported and problems were denied. There has been a shocking absence of control over suppliers, with the Department failing to implement the most basic procedures for monitoring and authorising expenditure. The pilot programme is not a proper pilot. Its scope is limited and does not deal with the key issues that Universal Credit must address: the volume of claims; their complexity; change in claimants' circumstances; and the need for claimants to meet conditions for continuing entitlement to benefit. The programme will not hit its current target of enrolling 184, 000 claimants by April 2014. The Department will have to speed up the later stages of the programme if it is to meet the 2017 completion date but that will pose new risks. Meeting any specific timetable from now on is less important than delivering the programme successfullyAs we did the reset, we ensured that everything was properly negotiated and contracted for, so that is very tight in terms of the reset going ... which is being developed largely with a multi-discipline team involving the Government Digital Service, and those legacy systems. ... as I have said, I have not been close enough to that, so I am not clear as to whether the pathfinder can be scaled and rolled out.
|Title||:||House of Commons - Committee of Public Accounts: Universal Credit: Early Progress - HC 619|
|Author||:||Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Committee of Public Accounts|
|Publisher||:||The Stationery Office - 2013-11-07|