Accenture has won a seven-year contract worth up to around £500 million to manage the provision of the IT systems supporting the UK’s new Universal Credit benefits scheme.
The IT consulting and outsourcing provider will manage the subcontractors building the customer facing component of the scheme, which the government hopes will simplify the process of claiming benefits.
The principal subcontractor will be Atos, which Accenture chose for "its strong track record of successfully delivering IT services for the Department of Work and Pension [DWP], and with a particular focus on delivering secure online citizen self-service applications," it said in a statement.
Mark Lyons, Accenture’s managing director for health & public service, said that the Universal Credit scheme will help the DWP "to further improve the service they deliver to reflect the changing needs of U.K. citizens".
In September, however, the Public Accounts Committee noted that 31% of the poorest UK citizens – those most likely to be affected by changes to the benefits system – never even use computers. The PAC said that the DWP’s estimate of 80% for adoption of online benefits claims was unrealistic.
IBM was awarded a £525 million contract for the provision of various systems to the DWP at the end of September. Those systems include a customer information system, resource management, a fraud referral and intervention management, some of which will be used in the delivery of Universal Credit.
The DWP also signed a £100 million deal with HP for delivery of software covering the core benefits system.