Universal Credit: failing IT

Computer Weekly’s editor asks whether Universal Credit has to fail as an IT project. Universal Credit, he comments, “is perhaps the last of the mega-projects that was set up under the old rules”; in time to come, new approaches should stop the stream of bad decisions. But Universal Credit is not, first and foremost, an IT project; it’s about benefit delivery, and information management is secondary to the basic objectives. The reason why the programmers can’t deliver the programme yet is not because of the problems of coordinating IT, challenging as they are; it’s because the government has failed to work out what the circumstances are it’s dealing with, what needs to be coordinated and what needs to be delivered. No computer system can possibly answer those questions.

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