The Cabinet Office has said the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) has saved over £300 million in taxpayers’ money over the last two years by detecting and preventing fraud and error in the public sector.
Minister for the Constitution Chloe Smith highlighted the savings to mark the publication of the two-yearly report on the NFI, covering the period April 2016 to March 2018.
It identifies savings specific to several areas: £144.8 million in occupational pension fraud and overpayments; £32.6 million in fraudulent or wrongly received council tax single person discount; £24.9 million of housing benefit fraud and overpayment; £25.5 million in social housing waiting list misrepresentation; £18 million of blue badge misuse – 31,223 blue badges were revoked or withdrawn; and £5.5 million from tenancy fraud.
The NFI brings together over 1,200 public and private sector organisations to compare sets of data, such as the payroll of a company with benefit records, to identify fraudulent claims and payments.
It provides four products: a web application for accessing matches of data; the AppCheck to spot potential fraud at the point of application; ReCheck to enable organisations to repeat national batch matching at a convenient time; and FraudHub through which groups of organisations can regularly screen more than one dataset to detect errors in processing.
In April the Cabinet Office renewed the contract with the incumbent Synectics Solutions to run the data matching in the NFI.
Commenting on the new figures, Chloe Smith said: “I am delighted that the National Fraud Initiative has been able to save UK taxpayers over £300 million since April 2016. In England alone, more than £144 million will be going to protect vital public services instead of pension fraud and error.
“We are determined to build a fairer society and stopping a small group of unscrupulous people who break the law will help us achieve this.”
Image from iStock, Gunay Mutlu