Disclosure appears to contradict minister'​s assurances that department'​s major IT projects would not go abroad.

Hundreds of computer technicians in India are being hired to help develop an IT system for the government'​s universal credit programme, work potentially worth hundreds of millions of pounds, despite promises that large data projects would remain in the UK.
Workers in Bangalore and Mumbai are being hired by the outsourcing firms Accenture and IBM to help design and maintain a delivery system for universal credit, internal documents show.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) signed contracts with the two firms reported to be worth £​525m each in December.
The disclosure appears to contradict assurances from the employment minister, Chris Grayling, who told parliament in November that he would not allow his department'​s major IT projects to go abroad.

Union leaders and MPs reacted angrily to the disclosure. Mark Serwotka, leader of the PCS union, said: "​With unemployment high and still rising, ministers should be taking every opportunity to create skilled jobs, yet it appears plans are already well advanced to offshore the development of what is supposedly their flagship benefits system.

"​This not only raises questions about the government'​s commitment to getting our economy moving again, but also about the pledge the employment minister made to parliament."​

John McDonnell, the Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, said the development raised difficult questions about the security of data. "​This flies in the face of firm government undertakings that databases holding the personal information of our citizens would not be put at risk by offshoring,"​ he said. "​By allowing private companies to maximise their profits in this way risks large-scale fraud, undermining the credibility of the whole system."​

Mary Glindon, Labour MP for North Tyneside, said: "​We'​re crying out for specialist jobs like these in the north-east and nationwide. We need to keep the pressure on the minister to honour his commitments on offshoring."​

Full story from the Guardian


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