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They still haven’t got it right. Have you?

They still haven’t got it right. Have you?  According to a report by the Work and Pensions Committee there remains uncertainty about the Universal Credit (UC) IT system, including how it will work, how much it will cost, and who will develop it.

National roll-out of UC (the driver behind real time information) was due to begin in October 2013. But problems with IT systems meant that major changes to the implementation time table were made in July and then again in December 2013. Currently:

  • UC claims are still limited to 10 Pathfinder Jobcentres;
  • New claims are not expected to be extended to the whole

of Great Britain until 2016; and

  • The bulk of existing claimants will not move over to

UC until 2016-17.

Commenting, Dame Anne Begg MP, Committee Chair, said

“Only 4,280 people were claiming Universal Credit by December 2013 and the majority of these claims were of the simplest nature. By comparison, in the same month, 1.22 million people were claiming Jobseekers Allowance. This demonstrates the scale of the challenge still facing the Government in trying to implement UC by 2017.”

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is trying to resolve the IT problems by developing a new “end-state solution” for UC IT which will eventually replace the IT system currently in use. This is costing £25-32 million to develop up to November 2014, with no indication of how much more it will cost in the long-term. And it will only be clear that it works once it has been tested at scale.

The Committee Chair said:

“The money wasted on Universal Credit so far – £40 million on IT software that now has no use and £90 million on software with a useful life of only 5 years – is a matter of deep regret. It is vital that DWP learns the lessons of past mistakes.

At the same time as developing the “end-state solution” the Government intends to spend £37-£58 million on further developing the existing IT system.”

So it seems the burden of Real Time Information (RTi) on businesses that was needed to support YC and help generate the hundreds of millions of savings a year for the exchequer was in vain. Not only is the UK tax payer left carrying the can for failed IT projects it also has the burden of operating RTi and the many added issues of reconciling a monthly system, rather than a previous annual one.

This experience may make you feel better about what you have been /are going through with any of your IT implementations and updates but I am sure that in your business you would not and could not sustain such over runs.

However, don’t think that HMRC would give any leeway if your systems were found to be not working properly and ignore any money due to them as a consequence. It is vital therefore that you ensure that all of your IT systems, processes and procedures are up to the mark on a day to day basis. Apart from payroll one key area to ensure that you are compliant in and that there is no ‘leakage’ is expenses and particularly travel.

One option is the use of innovative GPS technology, which aids the maintenance of accurate records in a fraction of the time taken to complete ‘traditional’ paper based or online records. Also, the driver is in control of the data and so ‘Big Brother’ issues associated with off the shelf telematics solutions is also managed. The driver simply hides the detail associated with the private trips but still retains a full audit trail of the business trips to support their claim (see below). Finally the system holds details of the trip reason and ‘friendly’ names etc. making it easier and easier to use.

Soon your business mileage recording could look like this:

mileage log


0845 600 6880

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