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Government launches Public Sector Fraud Authority

Magnifying glass over 'fraud' amid binary code
Image source: Mutlu

The Cabinet Office has launched the Public Sector Fraud Authority (PSFA) with an indication it will use data tools and analytics in the effort to reduce fraud.

Government Efficiency Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg made the announcement, stating the PSFA would have a target of preventing £180 million of benefits fraud in its first 12 months.

He added that the new organisation has been tasked with working with departments to agree longer term targets by December.

The PSFA will be made up of counter fraud and data experts, using data tools and advanced analytics and supported by a cross-sector advisory panel to shape its strategic approach.

Its priorities will include building a new National Counter Fraud Data Analytics Service that will provide advanced data capabilities, such as social network analysis, to support the authority’s work.

It will also work on improving the use of fraud intelligence across the public sector, and with other sectors, to combat specific threats; and support the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and bank lenders with advanced data analytics expertise and tools.

Organisation leader

The organisation will be led by Mark Cheeseman, who led the creation of the government’s counter fraud provision, and supported by an initial £25 million in funding. The chair of the panel will be announced in September.

Rees-Mogg said: “As criminals develop more sophisticated tools, we too must adapt and modernise.

“So we’re attracting the brightest minds and equipping them with tools to detect, prevent and deter those who seek to steal money intended to fund vital public services.”

​​The launch builds on the work of the National Fraud Initiative, which is based in the Cabinet Office and uses technology and data matching to find and prevent fraud. The Cabinet Office said that between 2018-22 the service was used to detect and prevent more than £200 million of public sector pension fraud.

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