Iain Duncan Smith is offering £140,000 a year for someone to take charge of troubled Universal Credit

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This is a terrific job opportunity – £140k to twiddle your thumbs for a year and then quit, most likely citing health concerns.

Then the successful candidate can join the ranks of those claiming the new benefit.

That’s if they can cope with the hurdles they will have helped create for claimants – and if they’ve spent all of their whopping great salary, of course.

Five bosses in as many years, more or less – how ludicrous.

Iain Duncan Smith is recruiting a new £140,000-a-year director of his troubled welfare reform project Universal Credit – barely a year after the last change of leadership.

The job is among the top paying jobs in the civil service – more than the Work and Pensions Secretary earns himself.

The advert for the role – posted on the Civil Service Jobs website – says the Department for Work and Pensions is seeking someone to develop and implement the £2bn Universal Credit programme, the Government’s flagship welfare reform project that will merge six benefits into one payment over the next five years.

However the programme has been beset by problems since Mr Duncan Smith announced in 2011 that 1m people would be on the benefit by April 2014.

Howard Shiplee was the latest official to quit the project last year as director general after just over a year in the job, following Terry Moran and renowned IT expert Philip Langsdale out the exit door.

Neil Couling was promoted to director general of Universal Credit after Mr Shiplee’s departure and the department told The Independent that he remains in his position.

A spokesman said the advert is part of a routine practice to hold an open recruitment process when a vacancy comes up and Mr Couling will have to apply for the job along with any other candidates.

The department has only just advertised for the role, despite Mr Couling having served in the position since October last year.

The successful candidate will be in charge of 600 staff working on the transition to Universal Credit and a £1.7bn budget.

Source: Iain Duncan Smith is offering £140,000 a year for someone to take charge of his troubled Universal Credit programme | UK Politics | News | The Independent

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15 thoughts on “Iain Duncan Smith is offering £140,000 a year for someone to take charge of troubled Universal Credit

  1. yarmouthboy

    No doubt some chum of his already pencilled in for this non job. Even if not, anyone with any IT cred would probably see this as a poisoned chalice and a short cut to the nuthouse. IDS has already shown that he has not a clue as to how complex IT systems work. As the “client” he no doubt kept making changes to the original specification oblivious to the fact that such actions are difficult if not impossible to accommodate once system development has commenced. I can not imagine a worse client than him. Ignorant, arrogant and single minded stupidity are the things that spring to mind.

  2. Dez

    Nice work if you can hack it. I suppose they actually need a moving target for a project that is obviously a crock of ####! Why does Herr Smith not take the lead someone of his calibre and superior worldly knowledge is tailor made for such an important role plus he will get a well deserved gravey train raise as well. I have no belief that any of them in Civil Service have the right calibre to deal with this complicated project…they are to far removed from real life to understand how to put this baby to bed.

  3. NMac

    A nasty, corrupt, incompetent and dishonest man who is willing to try anything rather than admit his nasty rotten scheme won’t work.

  4. paulrutherford8

    I’m seriously thinking of applying… it would be an interesting exercise in discovering just how quickly I’d get a rejection letter 😀 😀

    But I see no reason why I couldn’t do the job: I’m sure they’d let me work from home and during the hours when I’m less tired than exhausted and, of course, when not looking after Warren.

    On second thoughts… perhaps not!!

  5. Thomas

    Would it be worth it to ruin one’s own reputation? Whoever takes up that job will not be popular.

  6. AM-FM

    As we suspect the music is about to stop, and we need someone to take all the praise, an exciting career ending opportunity has arisen.

    Steven Dover,
    Malcolm Whitehouse,
    Hilary Reynolds,
    Philip Langsdale,
    David Pitchford,
    Howard Shiplee,
    Neil Couling
    2016 ??

  7. HomerJS

    I wonder if the Job Centre will make me apply for this job?

    Mind you, it might be funny if all unemployed people did apply for this job . . .

  8. Pete B

    Duncan Smith needs someone to take charge of him.Who else do you know that can get well paid for screwing up everything he touches.A ex army bag man,a Walter Mitty with ideas of Grandeur after taking a short course in a Italian University.

    Its apparent he is kept in his post to destroy the system beyond redemption.

  9. Jonathan Wilson

    The things is, thats actually not that well paid for a multi-billion project. In the real world, such a position would come with a directorship (and all the perks, such as early walk/fired “paid in lieu” periods (usually 18months payment), fully expensed car, share options, and so on…) so the full “salary” package would be about 300-500K, a pension pot of close to a million+, and non-returnable shares (probably close to the million mark).

    An IT “contractor” (programmer) easily earns 91K a year… (52Weeks x 5 days x 350GBP) with no responsibility except chucking out code and in some specific products, areas, or languages can earn about 500 a day; which makes the, offered, salary fairly poor in comparison.

    1. roybeiley

      The current state of the system is probably so bad that it is unlikely it could ever be “fixed” in that it would be a stable system. I expect that the need to incorporate the clients changes to the original specification has resulted in numerous “patches” being stitched into the coding. Programmers have a tendency to not properly document such patches. Anyone IT consultant subsequently employed to try and make such bastardised systems work properly therefore has an uphill task. Unintended secondary consequencies caused by the patches are often the main cause of the systems failure together with insufficient time being built into development process to allow full testing of the system with dummy data prior to it going live. I dont see someone at Director level as suggested would be any better qualified to undertake this than an experienced IT System Analyst/programmer with a proven record of making poorly written programs work again.Given the level of bad publicity surrounding this system and the blockheaded statements by IDS to which he has zero understanding of the complexity of what he has commissioned I think £140,000 will not attract someone with the requisite skill set.

      1. Dez

        And from experience once a “key” programmer who saves a project decides to leave such a vulnerable patched up bastardised system then is will just full to pieces very quickly or the users will be blackmailed to keep the key programmers on their books to prevent a data crash that in this case will effect millions….should it ever get off the runway!

  10. Tim

    Lets be realistic here was the welfare reforms really necessary why was it so important for this atrocious Government to had even tampered with changing the old benefit system, this has caused nothing but serious harm to the less well off and the disabled? Now we have the likes of idiot Iain Duncan Smith who as we all now know is a total incompetent and should of been replaced many years ago ??? IDS have no doubt failed once again by trying to employ someone else the UC to finish the job how many more will fail the task…

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