Universal Credit v3.0 gets underway – £131m of existing IT assets to be junked
In his review of the DWP’s final accounts for last year (published after 8 months of wrangling between DWP, the Cabinet Office and the NAO), the Comptroller and Auditor General, in an extraordinary ’emphasis of matter’ as a foreword to the NAO’s final sign-off of those accounts.
He states that £131m of IT has been junked or will be soon:
“(Universal Credit) assets valued at £40.1 million are either not in use or will not be in use over the remaining life of the existing IT functionality … and £91.0 million (of) assets will be used in the existing infrastructure but have no usability in the digital solution. (Another) £1.3 million of costs were not capitalised (i.e. wasted)”
The NAO has clarified that we are now talking about a third attempt to build the IT.
For clarity I shall call this new solution ‘Universal Credit v3.0′
Universal Credit v1.0 was built by Accenture/IBM and has been, mainly, trashed at a cost of £41.4m plus another £107 wasted.
Universal Credit v2.0 is in use in the current Pathfinder which started in April this year, and will reach a high tide of only 10 Job Centres (out of 780) by next April. UC v2.0 cost £91m is not expected to be used past 2017.
Universal Credit v3.0 will be a new ‘Digital Solution’ for a second Pathfinder to 100 households by Nov 2014 at an initial cost of £32m cost (page 7 here), which will then hopefully be rolled out nationally by 2017 at a further, yet unknown cost…
In today’s report on DWP’s accounts, the NAO boss says:
“At this early stage in its development, there are uncertainties over the exact nature of the digital solution, and in particular:
– How it will work;
– When it will be ready;
– How much it will cost; and
– Who will do the work to develop and build it.”
DWP claims that from April 2014 there will be support for claimants with families, rather than 2,500 the ‘plain vanilla’ claimants currently on Universal Credit. It is not clear whether family claimant support will be part of a v2.1 covering the 10 Pathfinder Job Centres, or built into v3.0 for only 100 households in 2014.