DWP admits delays to Universal Credit rollout

The Department for Work and Pensions has admitted that the rollout of Universal Credit will not be complete by 2017. The new date for the completion of the rollout is now unknown.

Shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, Chi Onwurah, said to Computerworld UK: “This government has sought to politicalise the digitalisation of Government and ICT procurement claiming some revolutionary approach but we see now that that they have neither been able to meet project milestones nor protect the vulnerable, the primary function of government.”

The rollout of DWP has experienced some problems from the get-go. Earlier this year the Government Digital Service was brought in to develop an enhanced IT system for Universal Credit. DWP defends this system and claims it is still viable, and will further develop it with the aim of eventually rolling it out nationally. It has also now been announced that the GDS will no longer be involved in the development of the system.

In a statement, DWP said: “Our current planning assumption is that the Universal Credit service will be fully available in each part of Great Britain during 2016, having closed down new claims to the legacy benefits it replaced; with the majority of the remaining legacy caseload moving to Universal Credit during 2016 and 2017. Final decisions on these elements of the programme will be informed by the development of the enhanced digital solution.”

However, it is now confirmed that those currently claiming Employment Support Allowance will only be migrated to Universal Credit after 2017, at an unconfirmed date. Any new ESA claimants will claim Universal Credit.

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