Watchdog now treating universal credit as 'new project' after successive delays

Universal credit, the government's recasting of the welfare benefits system, has had to be reorganised so fundamentally that the government watchdog responsible for grading its implementation, the Major Projects Authority (MPA) has judged that it is now an entirely new project.

In its annual assessment of the implementation of nearly 200 major infrastructure projects, the Major Projects Authority (MPA) has listed universal credit as "reset"; and it is the only one to be listed as going back to the drawing board, following IT design faults that lead to successive delays.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) said that the classification of reset was simply reflecting the changes the DWP has already announced to make the scheme viable, including spreading the programme more slowly than previously planned. But it is the first time the MPA has had to use this classification. The Department also said that said theMPA's judgment was out of date because it assessed the project last September, and since then there had been progress implementing the scheme through a limited number of pilots in jobcentres.

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