DWP invests in IT to beat benefit bungles

The Department for Work and Pensions is enhancing its IT systems and cleansing its data to reduce the £1.6bn lost last year due to errors by officials.

The Department for Work and Pensions is enhancing its IT systems and cleansing its data to reduce the £1.6bn lost last year due to errors by officials.

A report on the DWP’s finances by the National Audit Office concluded that £2.7bn was lost in fraud and error over the last financial year. Errors made by officials in income support, jobseekers allowance, state pension credit and disability living allowance payments accounted for 60% of the loss.

“Official error arises when the department incorrectly processes a new claim to benefit or takes incorrect action when processing a change of circumstance notified by a customer,” the report said.

“As this is an area widely acknowledged as being wholly under departmental control, an official error task force has been established to support a demonstrable and measurable reduction in benefit complexity and, by implication, official error rates.”

The department was aiming to cut processing error through “data cleansing, enhanced IT solutions, and raising the profile of accountability within benefit processing agencies”, the NAO report said.

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