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United Kingdom The Almighty Buck IT

UK Benefits System In Deeper Trouble? 266

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 Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @06:32AM (#45905251) Homepage

    To be fair a single NHS IT system is a very good idea. Its just a shame the contractors smelt money and decided to milk it for all it was worth rather than bother to deliver a working system. I actually worked for a small company that was subcontracted by a certain large telecoms company back in 2007 to work on a subsection of the DB side and we did our best , but unfortunately the powers that be at said telecom company just didn't give a sh*t. We'd send them new binaries which would then never get tested or if they did it would be months before we'd get an in the field report back. Utterly shameful.

  • not entirely correct (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CdBee ( 742846 ) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @06:33AM (#45905257)
    Currently, Housing Benefit (rent) is paid to the tenant by default; However, if the tenant falls more than 2 months behind then payments are switched to go direct to the Landlord.

    This change was made under the last Labour government as a way of encouraging tenants to get some practice at budgeting for expenses; Naturally for a small and feckless proportion of the housing benefit recipients, the extra money paid direct was a windfall they spent on drink, gambling and drugs.

    Should be added that for most recipients the total of housing benefit received is less than the total rent and they are expected to make up any excess from their unemployment or disability living allowance payments (where 'rents' include standing charges such as power, heating, council tax anyway) - so even if the landlord has a defaulting tenant and gets direct payments from the local authority, they only receive the element of the total rent that relates to actual rent, and must pursue the tenant for the rest.

    this system has caused many UK landlords to refuse to rent premises to recipients on housing benefit (although of course if a tenant went from employed to HB and kept up the payments rather than defaulting, the landlord would never know, which is some shielding...)
  • Alternative Summary: (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 09, 2014 @06:33AM (#45905261)

    4 major fortune 500 hundred companies who are major contributors to /. and the status quo have been marginalized by a government ministry's own in house IT staff, and therefore the major corporations are goings to demand that this disaster by put on the front page of /. /. will comply. We are in compliance with our corporate overlords.

  • Launched by DWP (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Christianson ( 1036710 ) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @06:40AM (#45905277)
    The article summary is a bit misleading. Universal Credit has from beginning to end been the child of the Department of Work and Pensions. The Government Digital Service, the in-house IT design expert office, is technically part of the Cabinet Office, but that's only because it's a centralised IT design service meant to serve all branches of the government. Also, the summary skips over the critical part of the article: the GDS is pulling out because the project is being run in direct contradiction with their own recommendations. Looking at the situation, it's difficult to apportion any part of the blame for the project troubles to the Cabinet Office; it seems to lie entirely on the shoulders of the DWP.
  • Re:Benefit system ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xelah ( 176252 ) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @08:42AM (#45905655)

    For those who don't follow UK politics: 'Benefits tourism' is a big issue here, mainly because it's being pushed by anti-immigrant parts of the press and because various parties are competing to curb it as a vote-winning measure. It's especially brought up as an argument against the UK's EU membership, because the UK can't refuse to admit EU nationals.

    There's very little evidence of benefits tourism actually taking place within the EU, and EU immigrants actually pay more in tax than they use in public services (for non-EU immigrants it's a little the other way round, but not very much). A quick Google suggests that EU migrants pay 34% more in tax, non-EU migrants 14% less and UK citizens 11% less. Numbers are rarely mentioned in this debate....I suspect that most parties like the idea of cracking down on it as a largely symbolic response and don't care if it makes any difference.

    (It also looks like some Bulgarians complain about hordes of British tourists going to Bulgaria, getting drunk and relying on Bulgarian health care).

    Personally, I think that, instead of complaining about the EU, EU governments should get together and decide that the citizen's previous country is responsible for benefits for a couple of years after he moves/pays taxes and then it switches over, or something along those lines. At least it might shut people up.

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

    by Vintermann ( 400722 ) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @09:29AM (#45905843) Homepage

    And why exactly should the government (ie those of us who pay tax) subsidise someone consuming drugs and alcohol?

    Ah, get over yourself. Why should they subsidize fuel, house ownership, exporting businesses and a ton of other things? Yet they do.

    And i have yet to meet someone claiming benefits who doesn't smoke.

    Hey, you are British, I assume? Look up this book of a countryman of yours, George Orwell. No, not the more famous book, but "Down and out in Paris and London". He does a good literary job of explaining why the poor smoke. It might even be able to get through to you, who've apparently never had a tough day in your life.

    If you want a more experimental/scientific explanation of what Orwell describes, take a look at this classic NYT article [].

  • Re:Benefit system ? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by captainpanic ( 1173915 ) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @09:50AM (#45905965)

    So in the UK, you get hordes of handicapped or elderly immigrants?

    I don't know much about the UK, but over here in the Netherlands, mostly young people seem to migrate into the country. They tend to be healthy and require very little healthcare.

Air is water with holes in it.