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– Welfare Tsar calls for DWP Data Due Diligence

As rigorous due diligence forms are hastily completed across the nation by prime and subcontractors, the coalition-government’s “welfare tsar”, Frank Field MP, has called for even more robust IT facilities to be implemented to ensure the DWP’s welfare reforms are workable.  In an interview with the Guardian published today, the former Welfare minister said:

“I am sure Iain (Duncan Smith) realises this, but it is not just a stumbling block, if this IT does not work, or only works as well as we’ve had in other projects like the Child Support Agency, the reform is finished. It is going to be chaos.”


The DWP may have pre-empted Mr. Field’s warning.  On March 11th the DWP announced it would be cancelling its contract with Fujitsu in favour of HP’s IT services.  This represents another government U-turn, for last year Fujitsu had been elected to replace HP as part of an overhaul of technological services.  Instead, HP will continue to supply desktop management to the DWP.  Fujitsu has stated:


“Fujitsu can confirm that it has received notification from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that they wish to bring the desktop contract, awarded in February 2010, to an end. We are not able to provide any further comment at this stage.”


Despite the loss of the £300, 000 contract, Simon Carter, director of government marketing has confirmed that Fujitsu will continue to support the government’s StartUp Britain strategy:


“Fujitsu is delighted to be supporting David Cameron’s initiative. For any small business starting out the capital expenditure required to kick off can be enormous and quite worrying. The beauty of a ‘cloud’ model is that it becomes a day-to-day operating expense, rather than a capital one, making it easier to flex and manage financially as the business changes and grows. There is no locked-in long term contract and once on our system, a business can literally have everything up and running within 30 minutes.


“What is so exciting about this new wave of technology is that IT becomes an enabler for businesses of all shapes and sizes, old or new, to compete on a fair and equitable level. StartUp Britain is a way of bringing the “Big Society” ethos to a business environment – something that Fujitsu supports wholeheartedly and we are proud to be part of.”

Indeed, the Big Society is at the heart of Mr. Field’s ethos for effectual IT development:


“In Birkenhead I hope we are going to solve this through a consortium of our schools, primary and secondary. If it all works out we are going to bid for our SureStarts, in conjunction with the consortia that the doctors have set up.


“We thought we would get around the problem about sharing data by having the same people running the foundation year services, so we all have a vested interest in making it work.”


Mr Field remains unconvinced that small IT adjustments at the DWP is all that is required to effectively establish the Universal credit.  Recalling the relatively minor reforms to housing benefit brought in by Mrs. Thatcher’s government Mr. Field said:


“And of course she said ‘Nobody told me there were going to be these problems’. But there is going to be nothing like it if something goes wrong with the universal credit, because it is not just one benefit, it is going to be a whole clutch of them.”


Kuki Taylor

Research and Communications Officer


Read More:



Website:  The Guardian,, Fujitsu




Published on 29th March, 2011

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