I tend to agree with Reddivine, piffle.
The DWP may not in its current form be fit for purpose (agreed), but it is an immense Department, and any replacement would be hogtied by replacing existing benefits and moving people over to new style support. Not to mention all the transitional protections that would be needed. And a new computer system (or three). Then you’ve got the problem of staffing and training / retraining. Not to mention cost.
Just the writing of new regulations would take armies of people, and then those regulations have to be translated into computer systems, staff need to learn the new systems (and don’t forget, these would probably have to be mostly existing staff, who are knackered from all the changes that they are constantly besieged by), and of course all the welfare advisors need training. Plus there’s the roll out to the public.
If we (ie the U.K.) have the billions of pounds such a change would cost, then we would surely have enough money to revise and simplify the existing system. Make it fit for purpose, make it fairer and more transparent. Recruit actual employees rather than rely on contractors to deliver the services, and fully train those in the changes that would be necessary.
The original welfare state was never perfect. It sounded better than it actually was. People who look fondly back to the DHSS are also forgetting how widespread was the criticism of the Department then. Regardless of the systems we have had, and any changes that happen in the future, let’s not forget how convoluted the welfare provision in this country has become. And any changes are going to be resisted because any changes will mean some people will lose out. They would have to because the system already costs too much.
I am very far away from suggesting the system works as it is now, and am by no means an apologist for the current (insert moderated phrase here) government. But simply saying ‘we’ll scrap it and replace it with XYZ system’ is no answer either.