MPA Disguised Universal Credit In “Veil Of Secrecy”

Jun 05, 2014

The Major Projects Authority (MPA) has been accused of disguising Universal Credit (UC) in a “veil of secrecy” after failing to rate it.

The claim was made by the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) during a hearing earlier today.

Last month, the MPA released a report that categorised a number of government IT projects as “amber/red” – questioning their ability to be successfully delivered.

However, the Authority failed to rate the troubled UC programme, instead defining it as “reset” after £40m of work was wasted, with a further £90m expected to be scrapped in the future.

PAC Chair Margaret Hodge has now criticised the “reset” decision and accused MPA chief executive John Manzoni of hiding the truth about the project.

Previously, the Committee has scrutinised UC itself, calling upon the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to provide a clear vision for the programme’s end state after recommending it write off £174m of IT assets.

MPA Chief Executive Defends “Reset Decision”

However, the MPA chief chose to defend the organisation’s decision to create a new category, claiming such a move was not taken “lightly or willy-nilly.”

“If you want my honest view, it probably was a good thing for the project to be reset and more particularly to give it time to get it back onto something of front foot,” claimed Manzoni.

“In order to create a space for individual teams to get a bit of breathing space to get back, reset hasn’t done a bad job,” he added.

However, when asked to clarify what today’s UC status would be, Manzoni answered that he could only disclose programme statuses once a year in the May report.

During the PAC hearing, the MPA chief also assured MPs that his organisation was keeping a close eye on DWP and the way it is attempting to deliver the new benefit programme.

“From this point on the MPA is assuring this project in the way as everything else, giving it reviews, ratings and it won’t be reset again,” he claimed.




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