23rd May 2014
The Major Public Authority published its yearly report on major government projects. Universal Credit has been listed as ‘reset’. It has been suggested that the MPA wanted to lable UC as red (The Independent), but that discussion with Whitehall led to the use of the reset label. ‘Reset’ means that the project is considered to have had to re-start. Dame Anne Begg, chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said, “There is a worrying ‘good news culture’ in Mr Duncan Smith’s department where problems are not addressed and there is a lack of basic transparency. Our understanding is that minimal progress has been made rolling out universal credit in a meaningful way across the country and they are currently just treading water until they can find a solution to real problems they are facing with its implementation.”
5th December 2013
Mr Duncan Smith says that around 700 000 people on Employment and Support Allowance will not have been transferred to Universal Credit by the planned 2017 deadline.
7th November 2013
The Public Accounts Committee today published its report on Universal Credit. The Committee says, “It’s implementation has been extraordinarily poor.” As much as £425 milllion may be written off, which includes £140 million worth of IT assets. The Committee said that the pilot project in Tamesides “is not a proper pilot” – it lacks vital security components and does not address changing or complex circumstances. The target of 184 000 people on UC by April 2014 will not be met, meaning that meeting the 2017 completion date will require a faster roll-out in later stages, which itself brings risks.
10th October 2013
Citizens Advice has warned that unless strong support is put in place, many people will struggle to meet living costs and deal with the new online IT system for Universal Credit.
- 78% of claimants need assistance with the online form;
- 9 out of 10 people say they will need some form of support;
- many people who will be moving on to UC are already struggling to make ends meet;
- Tameside Citizen’s Advice, one of the pilot areas for UC, says that the adjustment required for advisers is extremely big.
4th September 2013
Howard Shiplee, the new director for UC, has “ordered a complete rethink and ordered a thorough redesign of current software.” Major parts of UC are still missing, IT has been ditched and the project has moved back to ‘level one,’ having reached level two in the two years so far spent on developing the new system.
10th July 2013
The DWP announced its plans for the roll-out of Universal Credit in October. Previously it was expected that there would be a full roll-out for all new claimants across the country. This then changed to being ‘simple’ cases, excluding those with children. The current plan is now that six Jobcentres will bring in UC from October, adding to the four Jobcentres that should be using UC by the end of this month. Additionally, the Claimant Commitment and enhanced jobsearch support will roll-out nationwide from October
The Register reported, “The controversial Universal Credit online benefits system is so flawed that skilled IT staff working on a pilot scheme have been forced to enter data by hand, two high-ranking whistleblowers have told The Register.”
Howard Shiplee joined the DWP as a new director for UC. Mr Shiplee has directed several large construction projects, including the London 2012 Olympics.