Outdated IT systems are to blame for administrative failings at the Department of Work and Pensions, a reports from the National Audit Office (NAO) has found.
The NAO found there to have been reduction in the number of administrative errors over the last four years, despite £23 million being spent in prevention measures. The DWP had made £1.1 billion in overpayments and £500,000 in underpayments over the past year, the report said.
NAO comptroller and auditor general Amyas Morse said in the report: "The Department is clearly committed to reducing the cost of administrative error, and it is frustrating that there has been no discernible reduction since 2007."
Although suggesting that some of the problems stem from fraud or human error, the NAO said that most are “compounded by the fact that many of the Department’s IT systems are relatively old and difficult to change.”
The watchdog said that this is further worsened by DWP employees using computer systems that do not communicate well with each other.
In response to its findings, the NAO has recommended “Information technology system fixes and enhancements to reduce the occurrence of specific errors.”