The Public Accounts Committee says DWP needs to clarify exactly how recent policy changes will impact its delivery of Universal Credit by March 2017
It also wants updates on a range of other concerns it has - especially around what DWP is doing re staff training concerns and other on-going project issues.
The demands form part of the Committee’s latest (23rd) progress report on the Universal Credit project, the largest single IT project currently being undertaken by the UK.
The influential MP group has given the department until May of next year to detail what it’s doing around the issues.
The review points out that in July, DWP released a written Ministerial Statement setting out further delays to the rollout of Universal Credit, pushing out its rollout of five Jobcentres a month to July of next year, not February 2017, its previous 'latest' milestone.
That postponement means the system can not now be fully operational until a year after the last PAC published date for completion - March 2022, not March 2021.
“[DWP] needs to be clearer about what policy change it can incorporate without delay,” says the study, which adds that, “Given the length of time taken to implement the programme some policy change is likely and we need a clearer picture of the impact on timetable.”
MPs are also worried about how well staff are being supported around the new system, noting how, “Systems underpinning Universal Credit are still underdeveloped and there are signs of pressure on staff… the Department should ensure that there is sufficient opportunities for staff to engage in testing and learning processes, and set out for the committee what it has done to address staff concerns.”