Today’s report on Universal Credit from the National Audit Office reveals that the Treasury has forced DWP to abandon plans it submitted earlier this year for Universal Credit to start to replace Tax Credits from January 2015, writes Brian Wernham.
Surprising highlights from the NAO report:
– The start of Universal Credit replacement of Tax Credits from January 2015 has been abandoned. DWP has delayed plans by at least 2 years for the transfer of the majority of tax credits claimants to Universal Credit to 2019. It does not have plans to transfer the remaining 555,000 tax credit and Employment and Support Allowance claimants before 2020.
– DWP admits that up to at least 239m of IT investment has been wasted to date, up from £131m earlier this year. This will come as no surprise to those who saw my interview on the BBC TV over a year ago.
– The promised end-date has slipped from 2017 to 2019 (and will still not cover 7% of Claimants even at that date)
– Confirmation that Howard Shiplee the ‘Senior Responsible Owner’ (SRO) “since the start of 2014, had been working only one day a week due to ill health and has now left the programme”, and that his deputy also retired at the same time.
– The ‘stepping stones’ towards the final ‘Target Operating Model’ have still not been designed, and so the roll-out plans are still unclear
– The roll-out of the final ‘Digital’ solution has slipped again due to severe staffing problems after DWP threw out the experts seconded from the Cabinet Office GDS.
– There is no contingency plan in case the mobile ready ‘Digital’ solution encounters further problems.
There are further details in Mr Wernham’s article on his own site, and you are strongly urged to visit it, read them, and laugh at any articles you may have read yesterday (Tuesday) in which Iain Duncan Smith made bold claims about Universal Credit.
Despite whatever he said, Universal Credit is going nowhere – and there are no contingency plans to cover its failure.
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