DWP Universal Credit Programme – What Did Sir Humphrey Know?

One of the biggest technology and change programmes in the UK government is the DWP Universal Credit programme, which is looking to totally change the way many people receive out-of-work benefits.

From politics.co.uk last week. “The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was aware of problems with the cost and implementation of Universal Credit despite publicly saying the project was "on track and on budget", Politics.co.uk can reveal. Papers released following a lengthy Freedom of Information legal battle show that staff were seriously concerned they would not be able to deliver on ministers' promises.

This suggestion of problems with the budget seems to contradict a statement given by the DWP to the BBC just a few months later. In response to a story about concerns over the implementation of the programme, a spokesperson for the DWP said the project was: "On track and on budget." They added: "To suggest anything else is incorrect."

So who really knew what back in 2012 when the report into the project, now finally released, identified a number of issues? Was a DWP spokesman less than honest to the BBC?  What might the Minister have known?

To find out, and to get an insight into how government works, read our exclusive fly-on-the-wall report into certain discussions between the Minister and his Permanent Secretary, Sir Humphrey Appleby, here on our Public Spend Matters Europe website!

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