Public Accounts Committee

Universal Credit: progress update inquiry

Inquiry status: open

Report published 3 February 2016. Awaiting Government response.

Scope of the inquiry

The Committee first reported on Universal Credit in November 2013, following the Major Projects Authority’s decision to reset the programme in light of serious concerns about the programme’s lack of detailed plans. The Committee concluded that the "management of the Universal Credit programme has been extraordinarily poor.  Oversight has been characterised by a failure to understand properly the nature and enormity of the task, a failure to monitor and challenge progress regularly, and a failure to intervene promptly when problems arose."

Given the scale of the project and the initial problems, the Committee has kept the programme under review, reporting on progress in February 2015. At that point, the Committee made six recommendations aimed at improving transparency around costs and progress; developing contingency plans; and strengthening accountability arrangements to secure better value for money for the taxpayer in future. This short inquiry examines progress against those recommendations.

Latest evidence

  • 07 Dec 2015 - Universal Credit: recall - oral evidence | PDF version (PDF236 KB) HC 601 | Published 08 Dec 2015

    Evidence given by i) Robert Devereux, Permanent Secretary, and Neil Couling, Senior Responsible Officer, Universal Credit, Department for Work and Pensions, and James Bowler, Director General, Tax and Welfare, HM Treasury; ii) John Manzoni, Chief Executive of the Civil Service and Permanent Secretary, and Alison Stanley, Head of Civil Service Employee Policy, Cabinet Office (at 4.30pm).

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