It has been reported that the current suppliers working on the existing system will be squeezed out of development, but DWP has now said that they are not 'excluded' from tendering and "capability and value" are at the heart of its procurement process.
Furthermore, it expects that the digital solution will not be fulfilled under one single contract, but rather developed using resources that can be brought in as and when they are required. DWP believes there will be a number of commercial arrangements in place.
Despite the latest revelations, DWP believes that the "necessary skills and expertise will continue to be in place" to deliver the digital Universal Credit system.
Duncan Smith recently told MPs on a select committee that he is in control of the project and that there is "no debacle". However, he admitted that the department has had to write off, or 'impair', £40.1 million worth of IT assets to date - nearly a fifth more than the £34 million figure revealed to the National Audit Office earlier this year.
Moreover, this figure could increase: "If anything goes wrong going forward, that [figure] might be different," said Duncan Smith.
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