The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Gentleman with the information requested.
Letter from Lesley Strathie, dated 2 May 2007
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about the benefits processing replacement programme (BPRP) and the customer accounting and payment strategy (CAPS). This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
BPRP was launched in November 2004 to develop a replacement for our legacy IT systems, which calculate benefit payments in Jobcentre Plus and the Disability and Carers Service. CAPS was a much earlier Departmental IT programme with the aim of developing and implementing a replacement for the order book payment system. This would have provided customers with a single payment account and a smart card to access their benefit payments through the Post Office network. There is no connection between the two programmes.
We expect that a substantial part of the investment in BPRP will be of future benefit to the Department. For example, software licences and a testing and development environment have already been of benefit to other IT projects in Jobcentre Plus, and will be of use as we develop IT support for the employment and support allowance. Additionally, some of the planning and design work undertaken by BPRP will be of value to Jobcentre Plus in taking forward our IT Strategy.
I hope this is helpful.