The implementation of the Government’s welfare reform programme, Universal Credit, has been criticised in a report by the National Audit Office (NAO).
Universal Credit will merge a number of existing benefits into a single payment in order to reduce the costs and fraud associated with the current multi-benefit system.
Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office said
‘The Department’s plans for Universal Credit were driven by an ambitious timescale, and this led to the adoption of a systems development approach new to the Department. The relatively high risk trajectory was not, however, matched by an appropriate management approach. Instead, the programme suffered from weak management, ineffective control and poor governance. Universal Credit could well go on to achieve considerable benefits if the Department learns from these early setbacks and puts realistic plans and strong discipline in place for its future roll-out.’
The DWP will now extend pilot schemes to six more areas of the UK, with these sites taking on simple welfare claims.