Following fears that the Universal Credit set up is falling behind schedule, chief executive of the Major Projects Authority has been sent in to oversee Iain Duncan Smith.
David Pitchford has been drafted in by the Department of Work and Pensions and will spend three months working on the project, despite IDS insisting that it is not falling behind.
The appointment of Mr Pitchford is likely to increase assumptions that the project is in trouble and falling behind the original plans.
Universal Credit is meant to be ready for trials in April this year and will then be rolled out gradually until 2017.
More than seventy organisations, including charities and councils, have raised concerns about the workings of its new monthly payments and access to an online system.
A spokesman for the Cabinet Office confirmed Mr Pitchford will be at the Department for Work and Pensions for three months while a new head for the project is found.
Two other civil servants, Juliet Mountford and Stephen Mitchell, will run the Major Projects Authority in his absence.
A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said:
David Pitchford will be temporarily leading Universal Credit following the death of Philip Langsdale at Christmas.
This move will help ensure the continued smooth preparation for the early rollout of Universal Credit in Manchester and Cheshire in April. A recruitment exercise for a permanent replacement will be starting shortly.
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