The National Audit Office criticise Universal Credit reforms

The National Audit Office criticise Universal Credit reforms

11:22 AM, 5th September 2013, About 11 years ago 3

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The National Audit Office has crticised Universal Credit welfare reforms as being badly managed, overambitious and poor value for money including £34 million written off on failed IT.

The spending watchdog said “risks were taken with the universal credit to hit targets, IT systems had limited functionality and an unfamiliar project management approach was used”.

These IT issues have delayed the introduction of Universal Credit although Ian Duncan Smith has confirmed the problems are now fixed and will be delivered within budget and timescales.

The National Audit Office said “At this early stage of the Universal Credit programme the department has not achieved value for money.”

“The department has delayed rolling out Universal Credit to claimants, has had weak control of the programme, and has been unable to assess the value of the systems it spent over £300 million to develop.”

“These problems represent a significant setback to Universal Credit and raise wider concerns about the department’s ability to deal with weak programme management, over-optimistic timescales, and a lack of openness about progress.”

The report said there was still potential for universal credit to bring about “considerable benefits” if the department put “realistic plans and strong discipline in place”.

Issues Found were:

  • Officials were “unable to explain” the reasoning behind the timescales or their feasibility
  • There were no “adequate measures” of progress
  • Computer systems lack the function to identify potentially fraudulent claims, relying instead on manual checks
  • £34m investment in IT systems has been written off
  • The Department for Work and Pensions lacked IT expertise and senior leadership
  • Delays to the roll out will reduce the expected benefits of reform

Expenditure on IT systems has accounted for more than 70% of the £425m spent to date but the report could not confirm if the infrastructure in place will support a national roll out.

Universal Credit has been hotly debated by readers in Property118 and widely condemned as a bad idea, by not making housing benefits directly payable to Landlords and in the trial areas used so far has resulted in a substantial increases in rent arrears.NAO


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Neil Patterson

11:28 AM, 5th September 2013, About 11 years ago

If you type in "Universal Credit" to our Search Articles function on the top right hand corner of each page you will find the many articles and debates we have already had on this subject.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

11:34 AM, 5th September 2013, About 11 years ago

The amount of tax payers money invested into this ill convinced white elephant of a project is an absolute disgrace.

I have yet to find anybody with an ounce of common sense and no vested interest in this project who believes it's a good idea.

A very short list of people who share this opinion with me include:-

Landlords Associations, tenant groups, poverty action groups, housing charities, landlords, tenants and letting agencies.

To spend £300 million to launch a system which the vast majority of the voting population has no faith in beggars belief. It's not just the investment that's the problem through, it's every route and branch of the entire concept!!!

Mick Roberts

15:48 PM, 6th September 2013, About 11 years ago

And then suddenly to give people, many whom are vulnerable, & not got a lot of money, the whole lot in one go once a month. Now, if they spend their Child Tax Credit this week & have no food or run out of Gas, at least next week, they may have the child benefit to fall back on.
But OH NO, with this Universal Credit, as u know, they gonna' be getting the WHOLE months wages in one go in one payment-And u have to make it last u, Mr Benefit Person. If u decide to spend it first week on better food or holiday or drugs, that's it, nothing till next month-Wish the News People would pick up on this a lot more.

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