Universal Credit system ‘guaranteed to fail’
A new computer system that will administer the single benefit credit is “guaranteed” to fail because the benefit system is so complicated, a consultant has claimed.
John Seddon, managing director of Vanguard Consulting, said that the universal credit – which in 2013 will replace a host of benefits including council tax, job seeker’s allowance and housing benefit – should be administered by benefit experts rather than an IT system.
Benefit experts can better deal with queries from claimants in person or on the phone - and the variables involved in each claims, such as illness, part-time jobs and changes in their personal circumstances, Seddon argued.
Seddon raised his concerns about the universal credit computer system in a letter to Iain Duncan Smith, secretary of state for work and pensions, earlier this year.
In recent months, the National Audit Office and House of Commons Public Accounts Committee have both raised concerns about the risks associated with the short timetable for implementing HMRC's Real Time Information system, which will feed pay data into the Universal Credits system. According to PublicTechnology.net, the project now tops a Whitehall list of IT schemes most likely to fail.