IT behind Universal Credit is insufficient: MPs

A number of concerns have been raised over Universal Credit – a programme that will see the entire benefits system moved online next year – one of them being that the IT behind the scheme is insufficient and could be ‘one of the biggest areas of risk’, the Commons Work and Pensions Committee has been told in a report by MPs.

According to the report, the Chartered Institute of Housing believes that the IT system would “not be reliable and simple to use; and that there would be insufficient capacity in the system which would affect the speed of claim administration, liaison with claimants, accuracy of decisions and levels of fraud”.

MPS have also raised concerns about ATLAS, the system which would be used for data exchange between Jobcentre Plus and councils: “Councils had concerns over whether ATLAS would have the capacity and resilience to support the administration of the benefit cap, that manual interventions by staff might be required, and that these might lead in some cases to delays in payments.”

“We request that the Department for Work and Pensions provides us with further details of the steps it has taken to ensure that its interface with local authority IT systems is robust,” the report concluded.

In the past, concerns have been raised about how claimants who are not digitally literate or do not have access to the internet will use Universal Credit.

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