Bill I dont doubt that the system is complex and too complex. Yet they are the rules and regulations and I dont accept that staff are not somehow clever enough to administer them correctly. I do accept they may not be trained well enough but that is a different matter.
If benefit claimants are 'fraudsters' then they must know how to get their heads around the regulations. So if they are 'clever' enough to do this as must be the case with those who describe them as fraudsters taking advantage of the system, then surely staff should be able to get their heads around it?
This must mean admin error and general errors are down to staff not being trained correctly and/or not applying the regulations correctly.
The benefits system is fluid and changes all the time and its not just the last government that added to the complexity, all governments have. Its not a blame game levelled at MPs of any party. The latest and seemingly radical moves by this government will be just as complex as WFTC and all the last Labour government constructs and such terms as universal will not be the case.
As I have stated elsewhere every government of the past 30/40 years has only budgeted for a 60% take up of all means tested benefits and to do it correctly - ie one universal assessment - will increase the means tested bill by 67% alone!
Perhaps that is why obfuscation and complexity is deliberately built in to the benefits system?
Yet the key point must be that however complex and unwieldly the current or new regulations are, spending money on training staff to make less mistakes must be a key issue given the losses by general error are over a billion pounds per year.