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IfG responds to PAC report on Universal Credit project
Responding to the PAC report on Universal Credit, Peter Riddell, Director of the Institute for Government, said:
“This is a damning report by the PAC and tells a sorry story about unclear management structures and responsibility for a major government project that affects the public in a very real way. Clearly the immediate responsibility for the oversight and management of Universal Credit lies squarely with the permanent secretary.
“However questions still need to be answered by both ministers and the Civil Service about how a project with such high risks was allowed to proceed without clarity of responsibility and accountability back in 2010. The Civil Service and ministers have a collective responsibility to the public, yet their accountability is still ambiguous.
“Greater external scrutiny of the business plans of major projects before decisions are made could help ease difficult conversations about feasibility, scale and value for money to take place between permanent secretaries and ministers. Most importantly, in any effective system there would be absolute clarity from the outset about who is responsible for what and the consequences for failure. Such clarity is needed for other government projects to be able to succeed.”