Select Committee on Work and Pensions First Report

1  Introduction

1. This Report is the second in a series of two concerning a request by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) for authorisation of expenditure under Section 82 of the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999 in connection with a new IT system for the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). The ESA will replace the current system of incapacity benefits; the Welfare Reform Bill, which includes these provisions, is currently making its way through Parliament.

2. Our first Report[1] set out in some detail the background to this procedure and the justification the Government is putting forward for using it on this occasion. We made a number of recommendations about the format of a draft Section 82 Report given to us by the DWP and concluded that we would make a further Report when the Government laid its final Section 82 Report before the House of Commons. The DWP did this on Tuesday 21 November. We were asked by DWP to consider the final Report as quickly as we could in order to ensure that the overall Section 82 timetable did not slip.

3. The final Section 82 Report has been published separately by the DWP.[2] An accompanying note from the Department setting out how that final Report incorporates our recommendations is published with this Report,[3] as is an independent report from the National Audit Office.[4]

1   Work and Pensions Committee, Fifth Report of Session 2005-06, Power to incur expenditure under Section 82 of the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999: new Employment and Support Allowance IT System, HC (2005-06) 1648 Back

2   Welfare Reform: Report by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions under Section 82 of the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999, HC (2006-07) 39 Back

3   Appendix 1 Back

4   Appendix 2 Back

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Prepared 2 December 2006