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United Kingdom The Almighty Buck IT

UK Benefits System In Deeper Trouble? 266

Posted by samzenpus
from the what's-all-this-then dept.
judgecorp writes "Two media reports suggest that the Universal Credit scheme to overhaul Britain's welfare programme is in trouble. The IT project to support Universal Credit was launched by the Cabinet Office, and it will be completed and run by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) — but the Guardian says the Cabinet Office has pulled out its elite experts too soon, while a different leak told Computer Weekly that the four original suppliers — HP, IBM, Accenture and BT — have been effectively frozen out in an internal change. It's the biggest change to Britain's benefits system for many years, and all the evidence says it's not going well."
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UK Benefits System In Deeper Trouble?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 09, 2014 @06:15AM (#45905205)

    Sounds like it's going well then...

  • Re:Really??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Half-pint HAL (718102) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @08:08AM (#45905517)

    Have you ever been unemployed? Even are a month of it, it's mind-numbingly boring. You've got the jobcentre staff warning you that you've got to be available for work at any time, so you're not allowed to go anywhere interesting. So on the one hand we've got Iain Duncan Smith telling us that looking for a job "is a full-time job", but on the other, we're being denied the basic rights of full-time employees to paid leave. You've not got the money for lots of interesting things outside of the home, and when you amortise the cost of those "luxury goods" (games consoles, home entertainment systems etc) over the amount of time you're stuck in front of them, they're actually one of the cheapest ways of distracting you from the dull emptiness of your life.

    The first time I was unemployed (over ten years ago), I had a job coming up, so I wasn't afraid to spend what I had. I looked for temporary work locally, but not having found any, I bought a book on playing blues and boogie-woogie piano, and taught myself. I bought a bunch of wood and parts and built myself an electric guitar. And it was also summer. I enjoyed that unemployment. This time round, though, I'm stuck in a house in a small village, isolated from any and all fun activities, in the middle of an unusually wet winter. My only real opportunity for social contact is the village pub, and I occupy my mind with the internet.

    I'm trying to build up my skillset with the aid of the internet, but you have no idea how time just drags when you've go no externally-enforced routine. One day I can spend 13 or 14 hours working on my Python project, and the next I do nothing, because there's no defined "start point" to my day.

    I'm not a heavy drinker, I'm not a smoker, I'm not a gambler and I'm not on drugs. I am a cyclist. If I was told that as an unemployed person I had no right to own both a £1000 road bike and a £500 touring bike, I would be upset. If you took it away from me, I would cease to function. It's very difficult for an unemployed person to give up their only comfort and escape, so no matter how bad that escape is, don't begrudge it to anyone.

  • by Viol8 (599362) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @08:29AM (#45905597)

    Quite. The USA likes to see itself as a first world country yet if you get ill and you can't afford health insurance can basically go die in a corner for all they care. Even some 3rd world countries give more of a shit than that.

  • Re:Really??? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tubs (143128) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @08:47AM (#45905677)

    So what you're saying, is that the only reason food banks are used, is that they are there?

    Maybe the other way is more true? There was a need for food banks, so charities intorduced them, as more people need them, charities are introducing more?

    Oh, and most food banks require a "voucher" that is given to the person from Drs, social workers etc, you can't just walk up yo a food bank and demand food.

  • There is a reason why some USA detractors call it the Great Satan, some evil things are regarded as normal there.

  • Re:Really??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by queazocotal (915608) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @09:53AM (#45905981)

    'Incidentally, if you are physically capable of committing violent crime then you are physically capable of doing legal work too.'

    Really?

    Violent crime requires no timekeeping.
    It does not require you to work with others.
    It does not require literacy or numeracy.
    It doesn't need reasonable personal hygiene.
    It doesn't need you to be predictable.
    Nor reliable, or any other of the many things normally required by an employer.

    Even leaving aside the issues of actual employability.
    You have two applicants. One of which just came out of Wormwood Scrubbs for punching to death someone in a job interview because they asked too many questions. The other is fresh out of school.
    Who gets the job?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 09, 2014 @10:30AM (#45906165)
    Because Poles are very brown these days...
  • by Xest (935314) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @10:36AM (#45906213)

    But none of those problems you mention are insurmountable, the real problem is as it always is in the UK - the same old companies get hired time and time again despite failing over and over and the contracts are always so badly negotiated that the companies involved get paid regardless of whether they actually deliver.

    Until government stops using the like of Accenture and so forth for these projects it's never going to see things turn out any differently. They pay way over the top for something they could get so much cheaper that corruption is the most likely reason.

    Too many public sector workers allow contracts to be signed that award private sector companies to be paid even when they fail and then those very public sectors end up working at these companies when failure occurs. It's money for nothing and the payer foots the bill.

    They just need to start hiring companies that actually want to do the job, rather than companies whose entire business model revolves around back-handers and getting paid for favourable contracts that award them greatly for not doing the job.

    Look at G4S with the Olympics, they completely failed to deliver but rather than refusing all payment and recovering all funds paid to date for breach of contract the government spends months bartering over how many millions it should give them with spurious comments from the executives of the company like "We may have to take a loss on this" - no fucking shit? You failed to deliver, if it cost you that's not our fucking problem we still want our money back, though from what I understand they didn't make a loss on it in the end, despite failing to deliver.

    As soon as reward for failure stops in British public sector projects, then failure itself will suddenly become much less common.

  • Re:Really??? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dunkelfalke (91624) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @11:13AM (#45906495)

    Free handouts my fat arse. I have paid in the unemployment insurance for years. Bugger it, if I am to be unemployed for a while, I expect to keep my dignity and not be insulted by puffed up self-important bigots.

What this country needs is a good five cent microcomputer.

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