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Universal Credit project is officially “reset” / changing direction / will start again almost from scratch / technology scrapped ..

shawn mach
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interesting series of tweets over the weekend from https://twitter.com/@Welfare__Reform

includes ‘UC project has been scrapped and will start again almost from scratch. It will still be in testing throughout 2014’ ...

... ‘No real start of go-live until 2015. £300M+ wasted on IT which is unusable.’

summarised @ http://storify.com/latentexistence/anonymous-source-universal-credit-it-reset-started

Dan_Manville
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This gels with info from my source within HMRC. HMRC put the brakes on last October; all the rumours came out consequent to that and now this.

HMRC have been lobbying for the go live to be 2015; looks like they’ve got their way!

Andrew Dutton
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One wheel on my wagon, but I’m still rollin’ along…..

Mike Hughes
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DManville - 22 July 2013 01:08 PM

This gels with info from my source within HMRC. HMRC put the brakes on last October; all the rumours came out consequent to that and now this.

HMRC have been lobbying for the go live to be 2015; looks like they’ve got their way!

Plenty of this in Computer Weekly and it’s noticeable that the rate of leaks is accelerating, which is always a sign that there is a disconnect between ministers ideology and the people having to implement. I think the chances of anything coherent and non-pilot like going live by 2015 are nil.

RMR
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http://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/5039/
House of Commons Oral evidence taken before the Work and Pensions Committee Universal Credit: FOLLOW-UP
Wednesday 10 July 2013
RT HON Iain Duncan Smith MP, Lord Freud, Howard Shiplee and Suzanne Newton

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmworpen/uc569/uc56901.htm

Dan_Manville
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Mike Hughes - 23 July 2013 09:23 AM
DManville - 22 July 2013 01:08 PM

This gels with info from my source within HMRC. HMRC put the brakes on last October; all the rumours came out consequent to that and now this.

HMRC have been lobbying for the go live to be 2015; looks like they’ve got their way!

Plenty of this in Computer Weekly and it’s noticeable that the rate of leaks is accelerating, which is always a sign that there is a disconnect between ministers ideology and the people having to implement. I think the chances of anything coherent and non-pilot like going live by 2015 are nil.

Don’t forget that the backbone is RTI and the HMRC side of things is pretty much up and running. They’re rebuilding the DWP side to facilitate reporting features on HMRC’s side so they’ll see some benefit themselves.

Their big problem from HMRC’s side of things has been getting small and medium enterprises to sign up. I get half a feeling that they’ve not rushed so as to put a spanner in IDS’s works but that’s conjecture on my part.

One indictor that they’re good to go will be the announcement of penalties for businesses that do not sign up to RTI by a certain date; I have it on good authority that it is in the wings…

Rehousing Advice.
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I might be overly negative about all this.

I really cant see that UC is going to be up and running soon. Realistically it now seems more of an aspiration.

The questions now are:

Where does that leave claimants, advisors and agencies?

What does a welfare reform - UC world look like?

Who wins or loses, if UC does not go ahead?

I ask because, most probably that is the world we will be looking at for the forseeable future.

Should we not now be planning on what is acheivable?

Mike Hughes
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DManville - 24 July 2013 10:26 AM
Mike Hughes - 23 July 2013 09:23 AM
DManville - 22 July 2013 01:08 PM

This gels with info from my source within HMRC. HMRC put the brakes on last October; all the rumours came out consequent to that and now this.

HMRC have been lobbying for the go live to be 2015; looks like they’ve got their way!

Plenty of this in Computer Weekly and it’s noticeable that the rate of leaks is accelerating, which is always a sign that there is a disconnect between ministers ideology and the people having to implement. I think the chances of anything coherent and non-pilot like going live by 2015 are nil.

Don’t forget that the backbone is RTI and the HMRC side of things is pretty much up and running. They’re rebuilding the DWP side to facilitate reporting features on HMRC’s side so they’ll see some benefit themselves.

Their big problem from HMRC’s side of things has been getting small and medium enterprises to sign up. I get half a feeling that they’ve not rushed so as to put a spanner in IDS’s works but that’s conjecture on my part.

One indictor that they’re good to go will be the announcement of penalties for businesses that do not sign up to RTI by a certain date; I have it on good authority that it is in the wings…

RTI is but a very small proportion of this. A very small proportion. In the scheme of things it’s relatively inconsequential in comparison to the other barriers standing in the way of UC. FWIW my understanding is that RTI is not really up and running; not fit for purpose and a long way from being shared for a whole host of reasons.

Sign up is also a small aspect but the key bit is that people don’t just decline to sign up. There are very clear reasons why a business might not sign up, including that it showed itself to not be fit for purpose. If penalties are mooted but SMEs think it’s not fit then they will start to say so in much the same way Computer Weekly is reporting IT providers coming out of the closet to express their concerns about multiple facets of the process in which they may or may not be involved. 

Just on a practical level this is a scheme with which one can draw direct paralllels with the NHS spine. That worked out well!

1964
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Mike Hughes - 23 July 2013 09:23 AM
DManville - 22 July 2013 01:08 PM

This gels with info from my source within HMRC. HMRC put the brakes on last October; all the rumours came out consequent to that and now this.


RTI is but a very small proportion of this. A very small proportion. In the scheme of things it’s relatively inconsequential in comparison to the other barriers standing in the way of UC. FWIW my understanding is that RTI is not really up and running; not fit for purpose and a long way from being shared for a whole host of reasons.

My husband signed up to RTI during the pilot scheme. Since RTI went live in April he has had no end of problems in making the software work (and he’s an IT expert). HMRC’s helpline is well nigh impossible to get through to and the helpline staff work to a script. He’s been trying to get a response from them for over three months now and as yet is no further forward. His opinion is that the RTI software is not fit for purpose. Bodes well doesn’t it?

[ Edited: 24 Jul 2013 at 04:18 pm by shawn mach ]
Mike Hughes
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Well, indeed.

I would like some clarity on this idea that HMRC put the brakes on. I don’t think it had anything to do with them. A project has milestones. If they aren’t met then subsequent plans don’t happen. HMRC doesn’t really have ownership of that as such as I understand it. The NAO recently found that RTI was over budget; not resilient and may miss its deadline. HMRC has played all of that down and ploughed on regardless. Now, does that sound familiar to anyone paying attention to welfare reform? Which are the milestones that have actually been met so far???

Here are some interesting links. You may notice some contrasts:

http://www.hobbspayrollservices.com/blog/?p=481 - “AccountingWEB quotes Andrea Leadsom, a Tory MP and a member of the Treasury Select Committee, who is reported as saying to The Times, “HMRC are struggling to do even what it’s meant to do: properly calculate the tax due from people… HMRC is completely broken, it’s not vaguely incompetent, it’s utterly kaput.”

https://gcn.civilservice.gov.uk/dwp-hmrc-including-their-albs-and-other-hub-organisations/ - off topic in part but I especially liked “?Building understanding and positive perceptions of Personal Independence Payments as a fair benefit, personalised to reflect claimants’ needs”. So, we don;t want to build a fair benefit, just the perception of one!!!

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/hmrc_real_time_information_syste - Someone is struggling to even answer questions in a timely manner.

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/idgmanual/idg51200.htm - another “what’s supposed to happen”.

http://www.computerweekly.com/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?blog_id=92&tag=DWP&limit=20 - a right old melange here.

Now, read that lot and tell me that HMRC will be sharing data with DWP and, critically, vice verse, sometime before 2020!!!

JohnA
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RTI is an HMRC project on its own with its own objectives. It is ancillary that it might support UC.

It will dramatically improve HMRC cash flow and force employers to be more accurate in dealing with the PAYE of their employees. It will help cut down fraud. In time it will help to get more people having their tax accurately accounted for in year.

I don’t expect RTI to be really fit for purpose across the board before April 2014, but it would surprise me if it wasn’t working reasonably well by then.

A big issue still to be resolved of course is how well RTI data will fit into the UC model, especially if the vexed question of all employers making returns to HMRC “on or before” they pay people is resolved.

shawn mach
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meanwhile ...

Universal Credit staff describe chaos behind scenes of flagship Tory reform: DWP employees criticise environment of poor management and high stress in leaked internal survey ...

- Work is soul-destroying & unbelievably frustrating

- Some staff under so much pressure that they can only engage in firefighting & panic management

- Very little in the way of meaningful messages for staff or stakeholders explaining what will happen and when

- Divisive culture of secrecy around current programme developments

- Communications are totally nonexistent

- Programme should be a case study for how not to engage with your people to get the most out of them

- I have never worked somewhere where decision making was so apparently poor at senior levels

- This is the third review in 16 months, no rollout plans, no confidence in going forward

- After 29 yrs of service this has been the most soul-destroying work I have done

- There is too much dishonesty and no one ever admits to making a mistake

- Stakeholders are losing confidence in our ability to deliver

In response, the DWP’s ‘business change director’ said -

“Clearly there is much room for improvement and we are starting from a pretty low base. However, without this honesty it would be much harder to tackle positively and move forward. With your help we will do all we can to make Universal Credit the great place to work that we all want it to be.”

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/aug/02/universal-credit-staff-flagship-reform

Rehousing Advice.
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shawn - 03 August 2013 10:43 AM

In response, the DWP’s ‘business change director’ said -

“Clearly there is much room for improvement and we are starting from a pretty low base. However, without this honesty it would be much harder to tackle positively and move forward. With your help we will do all we can to make Universal Credit the great place to work that we all want it to be.”

It is good they are listening to their staff.

Still a bit difficult to see how they can develop a sophisticated IT system, without a similar honest and transparent approach towards claimants and partners.

They really need to be brutally honest about what they have acheived so far and what has failed.

shawn mach
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thanks to Jo and Gary from Herts Money Advice Unit for copying us into this from a Wall Street Journal interview with Francis Maude -

WSJ: One of the issues of digitization is the haves and the have-nots. Because of the services you provide, the largest users of your services are more likely to be the very people who are least able to access those services digitally. How do you ensure that a digital-first government doesn’t end up as a two-speed citizenry: the sharp-elbowed and iPad-savvy citizens get one level of service, and the other people who are not online get a second-class service?

FM: We should never operate from the basis of equality of misery. We will not stop some people, the majority, having access to a good, cheap, digital service just because not everyone can have access to it.

Point one is that the number of people who are not online is shrinking all the time. A lot of that is just a function of time.

Second point is that we are adamant that if a service is capable of being digital, it will be digital.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be operated by the user directly. But given that it is universally acknowledged that people who are not online are disadvantaged anyway it is something we seek to rectify. It is very important that our assisted digital programs incent the providers not just to assist the user to transact digitally and expect them to come back again and again, but they are incented to use the opportunity to help the user go on line so in future they can do it themselves.

WSJ: If you look at the people going on line, of those people most likely to use public services, I would suggest they are disproportionately represented in the non-digital set.

FM: That is not quite true. Many government services are universal. Look at one of the things we are putting online now, the process to set up a lasting power of attorney. That is indiscriminate as to who will use it.

WSJ: But Universal Credit is going to be used more by people who are more likely to be digitally disenfranchised.

FM: I don’t think that is correct at all. We were struck by in the pathfinder by how many of the applications were being made on line.  It is surprising and gratifying.

The fact that someone is a relatively low earner, or unemployed, does not mean there is an automatic correlation with being non digital. Older for sure, there is a clear correlation.

Full interview @ http://blogs.wsj.com/tech-europe/2013/08/15/francis-maude-interview

Subsequent Telegraph report @ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10251593/Benefit-reforms-were-too-risky-says-minister.html

paulmoorhouse
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I think it’s more akin to being surprised that it doesn’t contain any cashews….

Still a plonker though.

alacal
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At the last DWP Operational Stakeholders Engagement Forum officials presenting an update of UC were saying the same thing but had to immediately backtrack when it was pointed out that the only people allowed to claim UC are those most likely to be the most IT-savvy and were not remotely representative of the majority of future UC claimants.

[ Edited: 2 Dec 2013 at 01:31 pm by alacal ]
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The move to digital access may be fast or slow, but it is going to happen. Going slow now to iron out IT difficulties is a cool thing, but what plans are in place should the IT system fall over in say 4 years time, under the pressure of 10 million new and converted awards? Does anyone know if there is a clerical contingency under those circumstances? Its one thing to print-off all the digital applications in the pathfinder areas and clerically process them (as I understand is the case at present), but would that work under ‘steady state’?

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“We should never operate from the basis of equality of misery.”

Not when there’s always one group or another we can make even more miserable than everyone else…..

shawn mach
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pretty damning NAO report out today ... IDS forced to come to the House earlier to answer urgent questions ...

- rightsnet news: Universal credit programme has suffered from ‘weak management, ineffective control and poor governance’
- NAO press release: http://www.nao.org.uk/report/universal-credit-early-progress/

... plus check out our storify as the news has unfolded over the morning ... http://storify.com/rightsnet/universal-credit

disgustedofbridport
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It’s “1984”!

The DWP is committed to delivering UC on time for 2017, we are told.

UC is starting in 2017. UC was always going to start in 2017. Any suggestion that it was going to start in October 2013 or April 2014 is clearly the product of a delusional mind.

70% of £425,000,000 has been spent on IT. That makes £297,500,000. And it looks like it might all be a waste of money. Well, that and the other £200,000,000 or so they’ll probably spend before abandoning it completely.

How does this government have the nerve to complain about the impact of people doing terrible, tax revenue-draining things like being on too high a rate of DLA? Just the £34,000,000 that they’ve already written off is equivalent to a whopping 20,433 people being on middle-rate rather than lowest-rate care for a whole year!

We can hope that a Labour government will get in in 2015 and make some positive changes, but I suspect that’s a forlorn hope: the Labour Party seems to be firmly wedded to a policy of saying what the Editors of the Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express want them to and differing from the Tories only by not using quite so many inflammatory phrases.

Tim Blackwell
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I think that that figure was meant to cover the whole of the spending review, including 2014-15.  It may even be that less than expected has been spent on universal credit, especially on infrastructure, given that progress has slowed so dramatically.

Ben E Fitz
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Ian Duncan-Smith making misleading statements? What a surprise!!!

Apologies for he cynicism, but the only thing I find more surprising is that he always seems to get away with it. When will this mediocre at best, incompetent at worst, and definitely mendacious minister finally get his comeuppance?

Andrew Dutton
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In Steve Bell’s ‘If…’ cartoon, Cameron has just attempted to shoot IDS because “You’re useless and you’re costing us millions”. Well. Yes.

Ros
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shawn mach
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reporting on today’s Public Accounts Committee report -

- Universal credit welfare overhaul lambasted by MPs ... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24839358
- Committee criticises ‘alarmingly weak’ management and questions whether project can be delivered by 2017 deadline ... http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/nov/07/universal-credit-waste-mps
- IDS tried to shift blame for universal credit failures by attempting to influence PAC report ... http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/politics/article3915214.ece

... and from the DWP -

- UniversalCredit is a vital reform that rewards work instead of trapping people on benefits
- Today’s PAC report on #UniversalCredit doesn’t take into account our new leadership team or progress in delivery
- We do not recognise the PAC’s £140m write-off figure for #UniversalCredit & expect it to be substantially less

https://twitter.com/dwppressoffice

 

 

Ben E Fitz
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As far as the report is concerned; tell us something we didn’t already know!

And as for the DWP response, it’s the familiar mantra. They hope if they repeat it enough times it might come true. (or those of us who live in the real world might start to believe it).

I suppose IDS’ head rolling is too much to wish for, as the Minister responsible I’m sure he will make sure the buck doesn’t stop with him. As usual.