- Documents set to reveal full extent of chaos in flagship scheme
- Could provide ‘smoking gun’ showing IDS misled parliament
- Tribunal slams “sharp contrast” between DWP spin and reality
- Final release of documents could depend on outcome of DWP appeal
A judge has ordered the DWP to disclose potentially damning documents relating to the botched Universal Credit programme. The papers could provide a ‘smoking gun’ which proves conclusively that Iain Duncan Smith and the DWP misled parliament with their ridiculously optimistic assessments of progress on the programme.
The documents were requested by campaigners, including journalist Tony Collins (@tonyrcollins), under the Freedom of Information Act in March and April last year. The DWP has fought tooth and nail to keep them secret — even sending the director of the programme to court to argue against disclosure.
The documents include:
- Project Assessment Review — periodic high level review of large project
- Issues Register — details of problems and failures
- High Level Milestone Schedule — sequence of activities and timings
The tribunal upheld a decision not to release the project’s Risk Register, a comprehensive assessment of potential risks ranked by likelihood and severity.
Scrapbook has blogged before (here and here) on Iain Duncan Smith’s attempts to disguise his failure. If the documents are published they will be inevitably set against the chronology of statements emanating from the department, a theme picked up by the tribunal:
We are struck by the sharp contrast [of critical independent reports] with the unfailing confidence and optimism of a series of press releases by the DWP or ministerial statements as to the progress of [Universal Credit] during the relevant period. The press release of 1st. November, 2011 quoting the Secretary of State as saying that UCP was “on track and on time for implementing from 2013” and a DWP spokesperson in 2012, refuting criticism from the Shadow Secretary of State –
“ Liam Byrne is quite simply wrong. Universal Credit is on track and on budget. To suggest anything else is incorrect.”
are simply examples of the summary of press releases
Scrapbook understands the department could yet appeal to a so-called ‘Upper Tribunal’.