Feeds

UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco

'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs

Remote control for virtualized desktops

A government body tasked with flagging up troublesome Whitehall projects has been accused of secrecy and ineptitude over its handling of the Department for Work and Pensions' widely panned Universal Credit programme.

MPs sitting on the Public Account Committee said in a report published today that the Major Projects Authority, established by the Tory-led Coalition in 2011, was failing to adequately admonish ministers and top civil servants over spending decisions made for crashingly expensive IT schemes.

Unsurprisingly, the one-dole-to-rule-them-all programme steered by Secretary of State Iain Duncan Smith was singled out by the panel's chair Labour politico Margaret Hodge.

"We are particularly concerned that the decision to award a 'reset' rating to the Universal Credit project may have been an attempt to keep information secret and prevent scrutiny," the MP warned.

In May, the MPA – which was created to improve project deployments across Whitehall in partnership with the Cabinet Office, the Treasury and with the blessing of the Prime Minister – cobbled together a new "reset" category for Universal Credit. It explained at the time:

The "reset" category has been applied to the Universal Credit project. We have undertaken significant work to develop a "reset plan" to place the roll-out of Universal Credit on a more secure footing, and the "reset" DCA [delivery confidence assessment] reflects this new status of the project.

Worse still, the project will not be flagged with a relevant green, amber or red alert from the MPA until May next year, arguably leaving the Universal Credit programme free of proper scrutiny just at the time when MPs are calling for more details about an IT scheme that has appeared doomed since its inception.

The system has been dogged with technical problems leading to millions of pounds being written off by the government.

The cross-party Public Accounts Committee complained today that the MPA failed to release enough spending information on projects at regular intervals.

It said:

The government’s transparency policy is too restrictive as it prevents useful data sets, such as the amount spent so far, from being published and stipulates that major project data can only be published once a year. This is too infrequent and means that the data available on high-profile, high-cost projects can be significantly out-of-date.

Hodge and her colleagues urged the MPA to publish its findings "more frequently" and provide greater detail on individual programmes such as Universal Credit "even if this means reviewing the government's transparency policy," the committee said. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Big Content outs piracy hotbeds: São Paulo, Beijing ... TORONTO?
MPAA calls Canadians a bunch of bootlegging movie thieves
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
Hungary's internet tax cannot be allowed to set a precedent, says EC
More protests planned against giga-tariff for Tuesday evening
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
ISPs handbagged: BLOCK knock-off sites, rules beak
Historic trademark victory, but sunset clause applies to future blocks
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
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.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.