Magazine article Public Finance

Incapacity Benefit Replacement Launches without Its IT System

Magazine article Public Finance

Incapacity Benefit Replacement Launches without Its IT System

Article excerpt

Delivery of the new Employment and Support Allowance, which replaces Incapacity Benefit, will rely on manual processes and postal services for the first nine months because a new £295m computer system is not ready.

The delay comes despite assurances given in June by Lesley Strathie, then Jobcentre Plus chief executive, that the system would be 'business ready' for the ESAs October launch.

Strathie, now chief executive of Revenue and Customs, made the commitment in a letter responding to parliamentary questions.

In a statement on October 27, Work and Pensions Secretary James PurneU said the ESA had successfully gone live', adding that new business and IT systems were 'in place to support this.

But he also admitted that the 'fully integrated IT system' would be tested at a 'trailblazer' site in Tees Valley. The remaining benefit delivery centres and jobcentres would Operate an interim process to provide an opportunity for DWP to learn from initial deployment to ensure a fully optimised system rolls out nationally'. …

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