PAC concerned that Universal Credit "reset" was attempt to hide information

August 19, 2014 9:13 am

A report on the Major Projects Authority (MPA) by the Public Accounts Select Committee (PAC) has raised concerns that too much information is still withheld in the organisation’s annual reports, with particular attention paid to the recent award of a “reset” status to Universal Credit. The Committee states that it is “particularly concerned that the decision to award a ‘reset’ rating to the Universal Credit project was an attempt to keep information secret and prevent scrutiny”, adding that data should be published more regularly and recommending that the MPA should increase the information it publicises and include spent-to-day data.

The report also proposes that the MPA should have its role reinforced by setting up a formal mechanism to make its Chief Executive capable of intervening when a project moves contrary to the recommendations set by the organisation. Moreover, the PAC calls for a change in the management style, from deciding on individual projects to managing them as a portfolio, as well as for closer collaboration with Departments during their planning phase, particularly for “challenging, high-risk portfolios of major projects,
such as the Department of Health and Ministry of Defence”.

Finally, the report suggests that the MPA should work to improve the project delivery skills and awareness of ministers, shadow ministers,
and permanent secretaries, as well as add a value for money criterion in its existing ones.

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