Feeds

IT bungle left dole office unable to check benefits for months

Tech delay hit DWP's Work Programme

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Late delivery of IT to support the Work Programme left it without a system to carry out automated checks on whether people - who had been placed into work by the programme's 18 prime contractors - had stopped claiming benefits.

A report by the public accounts committee, which draws similar conclusions to a National Audit Office review earlier this year, says that the IT system was not in use until about nine months after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) launched the programme in June last year. In addition, the report says that the programme was not piloted, the design and development phases overlapped and the business case was devised after the decision to go ahead had been made.

The Work Programme, designed to help long-term unemployed people into sustainable employment, replaced virtually all welfare-to-work programmes run by the DWP.

Over the next five years, the DWP expects the programme to help up to 3.3m people into work at a cost of between £3bn and £5bn.

Reliable data on performance will not be available until autumn 2012, some 15 months after the Work Programme started. The committee calls on the DWP to provide assurance that payments to contractors are correct before effective monitoring systems are in place.

"The department now needs to demonstrate that, in the face of changes in the volumes of referrals to the programme and changes in economic conditions, it can still hold prime contractors to the delivery promises they made," the report says.

"The department also needs to demonstrate that payments to contractors are valid and correct."

It adds that the DWP's plans to implement universal credit in autumn 2013 could lead to major changes to the Work Programme's claimant groups and payment regime.

"Any changes the department makes must address our concerns regarding the quality of service for all participants and the value for money for taxpayers," the committee says.

Margaret Hodge, chair of the public accounts committee, said: "The speed with which the Work Programme was introduced was commendable. But the quick introduction threw up risks that have to be addressed."

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.