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DWP ditches £141m IT programme

Delayed project delayed even more

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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has said a change in the focus of its benefits operations contributed to the shelving of work on new computer systems.

A spokesperson for the DWP confirmed to GC News that it had halted work on an IT project for the Benefits Processing Repayments Programme, which was intended to bring together three existing systems - after spending £141m.

The decision was taken in August partly due to "technical issues", and partly due to "issues over the priorities of welfare reform".

"On the latter we wanted to focus on the employment support allowance," the spokesperson said. "We decided we didn't want to streamline all of the benefits in one system, and once at that point the original programme was not necessary."

The BBC has reported that the future of the project came into doubt when a review was conducted in February. The DWP is still working on selected elements of the earlier programme.

"Not all of the work has been junked," the spokesperson said. "Quite important streams of work are being taken forward."

The three legacy systems that the Benefits Processing Repayments Programme was designed to replace - for income support, carers' allowance and disability living allowance - are still being used.

"The aim will still be to roll them together in due course, but the time scales will be moved back," the spokesperson said.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

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