By Tony Collins
Earlier this week it emerged that Malcolm Whitehouse, Programme Director, Universal Credit, Department for Work and Pensions, has stepped down from the role.
Now Government Computing reports that Steve Dover, Corporate Director, Universal Credit Programme Business, is being replaced on the UC programme by two directors whose roles are new. Dover’s future role within DWP has not yet been announced.
The overall head of Universal Credit, Terry Moran, who is COO and second permanent secretary, DWP – and the senior responsible owner of UC (person in charge of making sure UC’s benefits are realised) – is on sick leave.
It’s regarded as good practice on successful programmes to have a continuity of leadership. The DWP says changes at the top are because the programme is moving from design to delivery and implementation, which is puzzling.
Whitehouse is being replaced by DWP benefits director Hilary Reynolds. Dover is being replaced by Janice Hartley and Sue Moore who have been appointed to director posts for the delivery of Universal Credit, reporting to Hilary Reynolds as Programme Director. The roles are new, not direct replacements for Steve Dover’s job.
The DWP’s organisation chart shows that Dover reported to Whitehouse, and Whitehouse to Moran.
The DWP says it is aiming to bring in new people with different skill sets. But how does disrupting continuity at the top of UC help a programme that, according to work and pensions secretary of state Iain Duncan Smith, is already so successful?