The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Select Committee has released a report that calls for a series of actions from the Department to address concerns about Universal Credit (UC).
The Parliamentary committee recently produced a critical enquiry on the delivery of UC, highlighting the number of technology problems the project has faced.
According to the report, the committee still supports DWP and its policy objectives of UC, but the “significant” problems with development and deployment of the necessary IT systems means it wants the Department to provide more detailed intentions.
Such details would include DWP plans for a “digital solution,” which has now been defined as the “end-state solution.”
To date, the Department has used a “twin-track” approach in the development of UC. Besides the “end-state” digital solution, the Department has also been simultaneously developing a rollout to pilot “Pathfinder” sites.
However the committee has now said this is wasting taxpayer money and has asked the twin-track approach to end, in favour of focusing on the digital end product.
“It is regrettable that £40m has been wasted on IT software for UC that now has no use. The useful life of IT on which a further £90m has been spent has been reduced from 15 to 5 years,” said the report.
“It is concerning that it took so long for DWP to acknowledge openly that there were such serious problems and to make the necessary switch to a different approach,” it continued.
The Parliamentary committee has also called upon DWP to clarify how much it intends to spend on the end-state solution, including costs incurred by employing additional in-house IT specialists.
DWP recently used the Digital Services Framework for a private beta version of UC, suggesting it is ready to focus on the end-product.