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Synectics retains National Fraud Initiative role



Company will continue to provide data matching service as Cabinet Office consults on work programme

The Cabinet Office has awarded the contract for data matching in the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) to incumbent service provider Synectics Solutions.

They have agreed on a contract to run for 57 months, including a seven-month delivery phase, with the possibility of being extended for two years. Although the original estimate of the value was £4 million, the contract award notice says the actual price is lower and is not being revealed.

The NFI provides a service for public authorities to identify and target possible cases of fraud and overpayment around a number of services.

It works by cross-referencing an extensive range of data from almost 1,300 organisations from across the UK. This can highlight discrepancies, for instance identifying that a person is listed as working while also receiving benefits and not declaring any income.

The Cabinet Office is currently running a consultation on the work programme and scale of fees for the NFI, due to close on 25 May. It includes the possibility of new data matching pilots, the dropping of insurance claimants’ data, and an increase in fees for some matches.

Data matching and risk scoring

The document refers to the deal with Synectics and says it will enable the department to enhance data matching techniques and deliver improved functions, such as bespoke user controlled risk scoring. It should also be able to identify and target new fraud risks.

The company has been providing the service since the NFI was set up under the Audit Commission in 1996, having won a series of tender processes.

In its most recent report on the NFI, published in November 2016, the Cabinet Office said it had produced £198 million in savings for public authorities. The highest value categories were identified as pension fraud and overpayments (£85 million), welfare benefit fraud and overpayments (£39 million) and council tax single person discount payments (£37 million).

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