Ministers have been warned in a confidential report that welfare reforms designed to encourage people back to work risk being delayed because they depend on the successful launch of a complex government IT system. Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, plans to introduce the much-vaunted universal credit – designed to make work pay for those currently on benefits – by 2013. But the success of the reform depends entirely on building a computer program to establish how much each universal credit claimant is earning in work and how much they are due from the state. A report commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), details of which have been leaked to the Observer, reveals serious concerns among government IT suppliers over whether the deadlines for the new system can be met. It also says that Duncan Smith’s claim that no one would be worse off working under the new system “may challenge plans to transition tens of millions of accounts in a four-year window. There may be thousands of exceptional cases that inhibit… the finish date of 2017.” The government has yet to announce the identity of its IT supplier for the universal credit project, which… Read full this story
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