By Tony Collins
Malcolm Whitehouse, the programme director and man in charge of Universal Credit, has stepped down from the role.
Computer Weekly says he’s been replaced by the benefits director at the Department for Work and Pensions Hilary Reynolds who will remain in his position in the short-term to help manage the leadership transition. His next position is yet to be announced.
Computer Weekly reports on speculation that up to five senior figures will depart from the Universal Credit programme.
A DWP press office spokeswoman said Whitehouse’s departure was part of the programme’s move from design phase to implementation. She said the department was aiming to bring in new people with different skill sets.
“With the early roll-out of Universal Credit starting in less than six months’ time, the programme is moving from system design to delivery. To reflect this, there have been some staff changes as we shift the focus onto implementation.”
The Public Accounts Committee and the Public Administration Committee, in their separate reports on the lessons from IT disasters in government, have urged permanent secretaries to keep key people in post from project design to delivery of benefits.
Whitehouse has worked at the DWP for nine years, having taken the role as programme director in July 2011. This summer he gave a positive report on the progress of Universal Credit to the House of Commons’ Work and Pensions Committee.
Thank you to David Moss for alerting me to Whitehouse’s stepping down.