Universal Credit project to abandon ‘digital-by-default’ – £303m spent, £65m of IT assets to show for it
At today’s Parliamentary Select Committee on Work and Pensions hearing, the new Universal Credit Programme Director, Howard Shiplee announced the abandonment of ‘digital-by-default’ for Universal Credit for the ‘foreseeable future’. Apart from the initial Universal Credit claim procedure, all will remain face-to-face, via telephone and post.
Mike Driver, DWP Finance Director General stated that of the £303m spent on developing the IT, £40m will be written off now, with £91m accelerated depreciation to follow on IT that is will be temporarily used until 2017. Under close cross-examination by Teresa Pearce MP, he further explained that a further £107m of IT expenditure was not ‘capitalised’ at all leaving no useful software asset.
So, the only long-term asset on the balance sheet after the expenditure of £303m on IT is £65m.
The numbers will be clarified overnight. Dame Anne Begg announced at the start of the hearing that the missing DWP accounts for 2012-13 will finally be published Tue 10th December. Update: Click here to view the accounts
All figures to April 2013 – any further expenditure not included.
More details, references from an interesting online DWP source here:
“After you make your Universal Credit claim, most interactions will be face to face, by telephone or by post.” Universal Credit Claim Journey, released 6th Dec 2013, page 4
Universal Credit “changes to circumstances through Universal Credit telephone helpline followed by confirmation through the post” ibid, page 5
Universal Credit moves with you – even if your new local Job Centre is not in one of the 7 Pathfinder areas! ibid, page 6