The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is to reform its IT system to improve the provision of state benefits, as outlined in its 21st Century Welfare paper.
Published on Friday last week, the paper outlines the delivery of a new integrated IT system, including the introduction of an automated payment system. This forms part of the DWP's efficiency drive and benefits system reform to simplify the payment process and improve incentives for the unemployed to get jobs.
Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith said, "We are proposing to change forever how the system works. Not tinkering around the edges, but a fundamental change from the top to bottom. Making it easier to help people into work, fairer to those who pay for the welfare state and continuing to provide unconditional support to those who need it."
Building on existing IT and capabilities, the DWP's new integrated IT system will reduce bureaucracy and form-filling by managing all claims, including the way in which tax credits and benefits are withdrawn when people move and progress in the workplace, the government said.
According to the paper, HM Revenue & Customs is also considering the collection of Pay As You Earn data in real time, rather than at the end of the financial year. This presents an opportunity for DWP to calculate entitlement using real-time earnings data, streamlining the payment process as well as reducing errors and overpayments.