The Guardian - Benefits system automation could plunge claimants deeper into poverty - The Department for Work and Pensions has hired nearly 1,000 new IT staff in the past 18 months, and increased spending to about £8m a year on a specialist “intelligent automation garage” where computer scientists are developing over 100 welfare robots, deep learning and intelligent automation for use in the welfare system.
The digital transformation is costing hundreds of millions of pounds. The DWP Digital’s budget has risen 17% to £1.1bn in the past year and IT firms have been awarded huge contracts to help run the system. The DWP is also rapidly expanding its own private technology company Benefits and Pensions Digital Technology Services, which recruited more than 400 staff in the year to April, while DWP Digital recruited 520.
Frank Field, chairman of the Commons work and pensions select committee, warned that vulnerable claimants “will be left at the mercy of online systems that, even now, leave all too many people teetering on the brink of destitution”.