The separation between government and civil service is a vital one. Governments come and go, but the civil service is permanent, and only works when it stands apart and acts as a bulwark against the worst excesses of politicians. So a press release that found on the Department of Work and Pensions website on Monday tips over an invisible but vital line of trust.
The failures around the Universal Credit project, exposed by the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday, are the responsibility of David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith, not civil servants... This failure was Iain Duncan Smith's. It goes right back to the start of the project. The idea for Universal Credit was developed in the Centre for Social Justice which Iain Duncan Smith set up. It is a good idea. It has the potential to simplify the system, and make it clearer to people how their circumstances will change if they get a job. But ministers have never got to grips with what was going to be involved.
DWP Ministers once more find themselves making a virtue out of a necessity as they announced on Saturday that the roll out of Personal Independence Payment would be slower than planned.
The government has launched a consultation on its welfare-to-work programmes, and UnemployedNet is responding on behalf of workless people. We want your opinions to help us tell the government why and how their schemes, including the Work Programme, Work Choice, work experience schemes and others, need changing.
The current welfare system holds people back from getting into work and too often traps them on benefits. That has to change. That's why we are bringing in this fundamental reform. It's not just the maddening complexity of the current system - the uncertainties around whether it pays to work under the current rules have made stepping off benefits and into employment all too hard for many people.
We all know how fond Iain Duncan Smith and the Department for Work and Pensions are of stretching the truth and using more spin than Graeme Swann on a roughed-up pitch. So it was no surprise that Wednesday's announcement on the next phase of universal credit came sprinkled with the usual Duncan Smith fairy dust.