The House of Commons Work and Pensions select committee has published a report on the implementation of Universal Credit (UC). The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has been criticised before for the slow implementation of benefit reform program Universal Credit.
The Work and Pensions Committee is revisiting this issue after nine months. DWP is responsible for the roll out of UC and is piloting the scheme in six towns. DWP is being blamed for the delay in the roll out as the IT in Jobcentres is still not ready.
The new report from the select committee claims that the Government is still supporting DWP and UC, but after two ‘significant changes to the UC implementation timetable’ MPs are asking the DWP to be “frank and clear” about the roll-out.
Concerns about computers and IT within the scheme are still high with £40 million allegedly ‘wasted’ on software for UC ‘that now has no use’, according to the report.A further £90 million is to be spent on the roll-out.
The select committee report is also critical of the DWP for investing in an existing IT system – Pathfinder – for families and couples – and the development of the so called ‘end-state solution’. Pursuing both systems is called the ‘twin-track approach’.
The report requests the DWP provide evidence of Pathfinder costs and whether it would be a more effective use of public money to ‘focus solely on the end-state solution and abandon the twin-track approach’.
For more information on welfare and benefit reforms, see articles from housing benefit expert, RLA trainer and consultant Bill Irvine .