By Tony Collins
Today’s report of the National Audit Office on the accounts of HMRC is, perhaps diplomatically, silent on the performance of HMRC’s work so far on Universal Credit, other than to say the timetable for roll-out beginning in October next year is “challenging”.
There have been internal assessments of HMRC’s “Real Time Information” [RTI] project, on which the success of Universal Credit is dependent, but none has been published other than the “Starting Gate”.
Today’s NAO report on HMRC says the “timetable for implementation of RTI is challenging”. It adds:
“The Department for Work and Pension’s timetable to implement Universal Credit is driving the timetable to roll-out RTI. The Department for Work and Pensions requires real time PAYE information on employment and pension income to award and adjust Universal Credit.
“It is rolling out Universal Credit from October 2013 to 2017. All employers and pension providers need to be using RTI by October 2013 to meet this timetable.
“The Department met its milestone to start its RTI pilot in April 2012 with ten employers. By July 2012, it expects a further 310 employers will be using RTI. At 31 May 2012, 209 PAYE schemes covering 1.5 million individual records were using RTI.”
NAO report on HMRC’s 2011/12 accounts
HMRC still plagued by IT problems.
“But HMRC has delayed implementing full risk-profiling – as recommended by the Committee of Public Accounts in its 2004 and 2008 reports – until October 2012.
The postponement resulted from the government-wide moratorium on new IT projects and civil service recruitment freeze of 2010, the NAO said.”
If the action needed was highlighted 8 and 4 years ago, why should changes in 2010 provide any excuse for lack of action?