|Pauli Walnuts with his combined personal solar farm reflector and tory manifesto cover.|
January 2011: The project's "design and build" phase commences.
October 2011: Computer Weekly queries the feasibility of such a large IT project.
Mid-2012: Iain Duncan Smith sends in an emergency "red team" to report back. He later reveals: "I was concerned that the relationship between the security and the online aspects wasn't going to work."
October 2012: The regulatory framework is laid in parliament.
February 2013: The Major Projects Authority review expresses serious concerns about the department having no detailed "blueprint" and transition plan for universal credit (UC). In response, the head of the MPA is asked to conduct a 13-week "reset" between February and May 2013. This is not made public until September.
Early results from pilot studies show that plans to pay housing benefit directly to tenants rather than landlords under UC will lead to more evictions and arrears.
March 2013: Duncan Smith tells parliament UC "is proceeding exactly in accordance with plans".
April 2013: The first visible signs of trouble start to emerge as IDS's national roll-out is massively scaled down and delayed. IDS defends the smaller launch plans, saying: "We learn in detail the problems, we slowly build the volumes up. It is a perpetual process of rolling out and checking."
September 2013: A damning National Audit Office report is released saying UC is beset by "weak management, ineffective control and poor governance". It reveals ministers have already written off £34m on failed IT programmes and the department may be forced to delay a national launch beyond 2017.
Liam Byrne describes UC as "Titanic-sized IT disaster".
November 2013: The Guardian reveals ministers have been presented with a radical plan, detailed in more than 150 pages of leaked documents, to restart UC and write off £119m of work over the past three years.
Two options offered include creating a much more web-based system, reducing the need for jobcentre staff, and improving the existing system, building on the investment already made.
January 2014: Minutes of a Whitehall meeting say friction between the DWP and Cabinet Office is causing "high-level" risks to the delivery of the project. A Cabinet Office elite team pulls out of the project, leaving the DWP urgently searching for new IT specialists.
May 2014: The true ramifications of the "reset" emerge as the MPA reveals UC is now considered a brand new project, with last year's red/amber rating scrapped.
Reportedly IDS's UC scheme will cost another £10bn.
That IDS is still in post must surely call David Cameron's judgement into question.
A smart move now Mr Cameron might be a reshuffle perhaps managing the conservative party postage budge might be more suitable for IDS.
Perceptionpoint May 2014
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