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National Fraud Initiative saves Wales £4.4 million in a year



Wales Audit Office points to financial gains for public sector from data matching

Welsh public authorities saved £4.4 million in 2014-15 through data matching under the National Fraud Initiative (NFI), the country’s official auditor has reported.

A statement from Audit Wales says the most recent exercise under the NFI prevented fraud and overpayments worth £2.14 million in council tax single person discount and £1.16 million in housing benefit.

Auditor General Huw Vaughan Thomas (pictured) said this provides a strong case for an increase from the 42 Welsh public authorities taking part in the last NFI exercise.

He has written to a number of organisations, including housing associations and Welsh Government sponsored bodies, inviting them to participate in future; and set out proposals to include new NFI data matches to help participants in fighting fraud going forward.

“The NFI is a highly effective tool which continues to play a vital role in the fight against fraud and I am pleased to present the results of the latest biennial exercise,” he said.

“I am continuing to implement a strategy for widening participation and usage of the NFI in Wales and encourage all public sector organisations to come forward with proposals for further potential data matches that could help in the prevention and detection of fraud.”

He has also encouraged public authorities to use the recently introduced AppCheck module that enables organisations to undertake real time checks on applications for benefits and services.

Recently Audit Scotland reported that the country’s public sector had saved £16.8 million over 2014-15 through the NFI, and projected potential savings at up to £110 million.

Image from National Assembly for Wales

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