By Tony Collins
Soon afterwards the question was asked: has the DWP published any of the consultants’ reports – nearly 50 of them commissioned from companies that included PricewaterCoopers, Atkins, Capgemini, IBM, Compass, KPMG, Deloitte, Xantus, Gartner and Tribal?
No, said the DWP.
So I made an FOI request for two of the reports, on Universal Credit:
– Universal Credit Delivery Model Assessment Phase 1 and 2, and
– the Universal Credit End to End Technical Review.
The DWP could not find them. It didn’t even have a record of them.
Julie Kitchin, Senior Business Partner Operations at the DWP’s Financial Control Directorate, Risk Management Division at Leeds, said she requested a “thorough search of the Universal Credit Programme document library”.
“Universal Credit Colleagues have confirmed that the Department does not hold documents with these titles or under these names.”
But Chris Grayling, a DWP minister, told the House of Commons that the reports exist. His written answer on 12 March 2012 referred to:
|Universal Credit End to End Technical Review||IBM||£49,240|
|Universal Credit Delivery Model Assessment Phase 2||McKinsey and Partners||£350,000|
Julie Kitchin said she would check again and reply within 20 working days. “In the light of the additional information you have provided, I have asked the Universal Credit Programme to conduct a further search for the reports you have highlighted. ”
Since the FOI Act came into force on 1 January 2005, the DWP has at no point granted any of my FOI requests or appeals. Its replies could be modelled on electronic birthday cards that play the same automated message every time you open them.
Perhaps the DWP could be the first department to use software to generate FOI replies without human involvement.