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Employment and Support Allowance: ICT

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 19 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the level of readiness of the employment and support allowance computer system prior to the introduction of the benefit; and if he will make a statement. (211152)

The introduction of employment and support allowance and associated computer system is matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Lesley Strathie, dated 19 June 2008:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what assessment he has made of the level of readiness of the Employment and Support Allowance computer system prior to the introduction of the Allowance. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

The IT platform for the delivery of Employment and Support Allowance will be built onto existing systems. By using tried and tested systems we lessen the risk associated with major change in our business.

The Employment and Support Allowance component of both computer systems continues to undergo rigorous testing by experienced test teams made up of IT experts, DWP test analysts and Jobcentre Plus operational staff.

A Model Office is in place to test the full range of Employment and Support Allowance products and processes in a ‘live’ office environment to provide further assurance that the system will be business ready for October 2008. Products are evaluated individually and are assured for compatibility with current business products to ensure the successful delivery of Employment and Support Allowance.

I hope this information is helpful.