The Independent on Sunday reports today that the Universal Credit pilots are in trouble. The national roll-out will be delayed, with more focus on regional pilots, costs have over-run, staff have left and the Treasury has identified the programme as being in crisis. Some parts of this were previously revealed by Computer Weekly. The Independent cites a ‘government advisor’: “IDS, like other ministers before him, has been hypnotised by promises of what an online system can deliver. Warnings were given to him more than a year ago. They were ignored.”
It’s hard to believe in retrospect, but it’s now over two years since I first warned in this blog that the scheme was impractical. I’m still hopeful that enough might be done to avoid catastrophe for millions of people. That can only be done through a process of development which is more reflective, more open, less presumptuous and slower.
Extra note, 14th November: another remarkable report from Mark Ballard at Computer Weekly suggests that Iain Duncan Smith has been kept in the dark about how badly things are going. That contrasts with his own conviction, previously reported in CW, that he is personally engaged and fully in control.