By Duncan Mackay

Howard Shiplee in front of London 2012 projectApril 2 - Former London 2012 director of construction Howard Shiplee has been recruited by the The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to oversee its Universal Credit programme, a new single payment introduced by the British Government for people who are looking for work or on a low income.

But the scheme has been hit by problems since being launched and Shiplee will be the fourth person in six months to lead the programme. 

The 66-year-old will replace Hilary Reynolds, who stood down recently after just four months in the role.

Shiplee, who worked for construction company Laing O'Rourke after leaving the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) in October 2011, had previously worked on a number of major business transformation projects, including at Network Rail and Ascot Racecourse.

"I am delighted to welcome Howard Shiplee to the Department. Howard has a wealth of experience in the successful delivery of projects of significant scale and complexity," said Permanent Secretary for DWP, Robert Devereux.

"His know how and experience will be invaluable as we begin the roll-out of Universal Credit."

Shiplee developed, led and managed construction contracts, budgets and timelines for all permanent and temporary venues while at the ODA.

He was also responsible for helping construction inspections, workmanship standards and best practice on site.

Shiplee was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2012 New Year Honours List for services to construction.

"The DWP is delivering the most important and far reaching reform to the welfare system in a generation," he said.

"I am delighted to be joining the DWP during such a key period of change and am excited by the challenges ahead and the opportunity to work with colleagues throughout the organisation to deliver this significant landmark programme."

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