Social security IT system: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/17/03000
Date received: 12 December 2017
Date responded: 9 January 2018

Information requested

I would like to submit an FOI for other options being considered for the Scottish social security IT system aside from designing our own system from the ground up which would cost £190 million. Specifically, I would like to ask what impact reusing assets from previous projects (and the assets and projects being considered suitable for reuse) would have on the total project cost and what 'off the shelf' systems have been considered and what cost impact they would have. I would like a copy of any documentation showing wat other options are being considered by the Scottish Government to reduce the £190 million initial cost estimation.


The Scottish Social Security programme has adopted a policy of re-use before buy before build to support the programme to reduce risk, time to deliver and long term costs for the safe and secure transition of the devolved benefits. Re-use criteria will consider Scottish and UK Government systems and technologies which are capable of offering shared services. All technology platforms are assessed and evaluated in options appraisals and presented for decision by the appropriate governance board.

To date four technology platforms have approval in principle for re-use. These are as follows:

  • Scottish Government payment and accounting system (SEAS) – Approval to re-use for Carers Allowance Supplement.

  • Mail Output services – Approval in principle was agreed for the re-use of mail output services via an existing Scottish Government contract.

  • DWP Customer Information System (CIS) Approval in principle to investigate re-use capabilities for three to five years.

  • DWP Central Payment System (CPS) – Approval in principle to investigate re-use capabilities for three to five years.

International Business Machines (IBM) benefits content management system (CMS) "Social Program Management (SPM)" platform has been selected for the delivery of Best Start Grant and Funeral Expenses Assistance benefits. No further commercial off the shelf products have been identified to date.

The Financial Memorandum for the Social Security (Scotland) Bill made clear that £190 million for IT implementation was an initial high level estimate which was likely to vary materially. We have not yet revised this estimate in total for IT implementation over the life of the programme, as a number of decisions on where reuse is appropriate or not have yet to be made, similarly decisions on procurement routes and system designs will materially affect the overall implementation cost.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. The reasons why we don't have the information are explained below.

Reasons for not providing information

The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because the documentation showing what other component services are being considered for re-use is not available. The reasons that analysis has not been completed or approved through the programme governance structure.

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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