Has DWP lost £400,000 worth of Universal Credit studies it commissioned?

By Tony Collins

On 12 March 2012, Chris Grayling, a minister at the Department for Work and Pensions, published a list of the DWP’s consultancy contracts.

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”.

And …

“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.

DWP hides already published Universal Credit report.

Chris Grayling’s written answer on DWP’s consultancy contracts

Millions of pounds of secret DWP reports

4 responses to “Has DWP lost £400,000 worth of Universal Credit studies it commissioned?

  1. Pingback: Is Universal Credit really on track? The DWP hides the facts. | Campaign4Change

  2. Leaves one gasping with disbelief – so this is transparency! I have made FOI to Cabinet and I have put into public domain here see in comments on solutions exchange http://ictinnovators1.procurement.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/Page/ViewIdeas and I will publish answers whether I like them or not!


  3. Thanks for making me smile.
    Ian Watmore said that departments sometimes commission consultancy reports to say independently what officials already knew. After that perhaps the reports are no longer needed. Re IBM, the furthest I have ever got with its press office was getting it to admit, after tenacious questioning, that it was the IBM press office.


  4. Have you thought about asking IBM or McKinsey?

    After all if the reports matter so little to DWP that they didn’t even keep a copy, neither of the other two world class organisations would need to worry releasing work which no doubt would be to their usual high standards?

    Of course, currently, I might be sitting in a reality distortion field.


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