Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which IT projects in his Department are running above the original agreed budget; what the cause of budget overrun is in each case; what corrective action has been taken in each case; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: Although the Department does not have any discrete IT projects, it has a number of projects and programmes that include changes to, or new, IT to a greater or lesser extent. We have included in the following table:
The projects and programmes currently on the Department's Portfolio where the IT element of the project or programme results in the development and/or implementation of services that underpin the delivery of departmental business;
The investment costs of the project/programme. Costs of running the solutions implemented by the projects and programmes are not included as in the vast majority of cases they are more than compensated for by the financial benefits they generate;
Overall, the Department has a very strong track record in delivering major and complex change involving IT, of which the successful introduction of the employment and support allowance is the most recent example. But we are always seeking to improve our project management and governance processes. In particular:-
Strict project governance arrangements apply to all significant changes on cost, scope and tolerances;
At each key stage, projects are reviewed to establish whether they continue to align with business needs; and
Original cost estimates are regularly reviewed at each stage in the project lifecycle;
It should also be noted that the scope of projects can change as they pass through the project lifecycle and as plans and costs become more robust. At each stage of this process they are subject to rigorous scrutiny to ensure that they continue to fit with departmental strategy and continue to deliver value for money.
|Originally agreed Budget (i) (£ million)
|Current forecast costs (ii) (£ million)
|Reason for Budget overrun (iii)
This project will deliver a database of key citizen information to be shared across DWP. The database will complement information currently available in the Department's key customer information systems, i.e. personal details computer system and departmental central index, and become their replacement. Consideration is being given for wider use of CIS by Other Government Departments.
The original timetable was impacted by IT complexities identified at the design stage. Later decisions were taken to phase the migration of data from the old to the new system to reduce risk and safeguard data integrity. The additional work to resolve the IT issues and manage the project to revised timescales resulted in additional costs.
A modern integrated central payment engine and accounts payable system to improve accounting for benefit/pension payments, reduce risks of service failure, increased speed and efficiency, and information for improved customer service and reduced fraud and error.
Significant extension of project scope was approved to include the development of interfaces with additional benefit systems. This resulted in re-planned delivery dates and an increase in system development and project costs.
Significant changes in phased implementation plans were put in place to a reduce risks to operational delivery and customer service. The project is now running over a much longer time period to support implementation which has led to the increase in costs.
Method of Payment Reform programmes will develop modern, electronic, secure and efficient methods of payments for customers who require payment by an alternate means other than direct payment to bank accounts.
Lone parents obligations is part of welfare reform and intends increasing the lone parent employment rate. Currently lone parents are not required to seek employment until their youngest child reaches 16. Under new proposals to be phased in (starting with youngest child aged 12), lone parents will no longer be entitled to income support solely for being a lone parent if their youngest child is above seven. In the last year before entitlement ceases, work focused interviews will take place to encourage lone parents to take up training opportunities, leading to employment
Following consultation with external stakeholders and the Social Security Advisory Committee, a series of design and timing changes have resulted in increased costs. The changes are aimed at making transition as easy as possible for lone parents.
From September 2007, the programme board approved three additional system releases while the project was still in delivery mode. While this added to the system functionality, it also increased total project costs. The project completed in 2008.
This project seeks to support the Department's modernisation programmes through the provision of a document repository to store digitised images of documents received from customers (letters, faxes, e-mails etc.), cutting down paper in the organisation.
This programme will replace and streamline the current new deal programmes and will concentrate on tackling the challenging problems of those who remain unemployed despite a strong economy and historically low unemployment. The programme will include provision of obtaining skills and mandatory work experience for customers
This programme brigades a number of complementary initiatives to deliver the DWP Business Vision. It includes projects to bring in continuous improvement using lean techniques which should allow greater customer focus and efficiency in our process and business improvement projects to allow greater access to information.
|(1) Jobseekers regime and flexible new deal projectthe project budget excludes any costs associated with staff exits which may result from this project. A higher figure representing total business case costs was reported to NAO (this includes estimated exit costs). Exit costs associated with projects are held centrally and are regularly are reviewed as they are often avoidable.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons the number of his Department's IT staff have fallen every year since 2004-05; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Department's successful drive to increase the efficiency of its IT organisation has enabled it to reduce the number of its IT staff. This has been achieved through investment in improving staff skills, including the adoption of industry standard qualifications and best practice.
Jonathan Shaw: The Department has 149 major application systems currently supported by its existing hosting contract(s) which are listed. All of these systems are considered critical to the Department's business.
|App (Short Name)
|App (Long Name/Description)
Integration Services Batch (Provides new applications with batch access to legacy applications which includes the following components: Integration Services Batch for PFS, CMS, NTC, CSR, BMSR, WFI(P), RM, PXP, CRU, DLA, KFEM, LPS, LMS, NOL, OB, PCFE, GIREC, SIS, VA, DEBTMAN, FNCS, HBSDC, IPBA, IRDEG, NAFM).
Small Systems Platform (Assaults and Accidents Database(AAD), Disability and Discrimination Database (DDB), Electronic Filing System (EFS), Official Correspondence Database (OCD), Under 18 Support Team (UEST)