£837m wasted on Universal Credit IT?


By Tony Collins

Is Universal Credit an IT disaster or a qualified success for the government’s biggest agile programme?

A less obvious part of today’s National Audit Office report “Rolling out Universal Credit” raises a question of whether taxpayers have paid £837m on a computer system that wasn’t essential.

The so-called “live service” system has been built in part by the DWP’s major IT suppliers Accenture, IBM, HP and BT. It will be decommissioned in July next year. Instead the DWP will continue to use an internally-supplied agile “full service” system to support Universal Credit claims.

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, questions in today’s report whether Universal Credit is any better or more efficient than the decades-old benefit system it is supposed to replace. He says,

“Universal Credit has taken significantly longer to roll-out than intended, may cost more than the benefits system it replaces, and the Department for Work and Pensions will never…

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