Systems provider for Cabinet Office develops new data checking mechanisms for councils to be more proactive in fraud prevention
Two new fraud prevention and checking tools have been made available to local authorities under the National Fraud Initiative (NFI).
Named AppCheck and ReCheck, they have been developed by data management and software company Synectics Solutions in its role as system supplier for the NFI – the programme managed by the Cabinet Office to reduce financial fraud and error in local services.
Matt Stanton, head of product management at Synectics, told UKAuthority that the two tools can enable councils to run automated checks on claims at any time rather than doing so every two years as required.
“Their use is not mandated, but the message for authorities is to do something about fraud on a much more proactive basis,” he said, adding: “Rather than waiting for two years to come around then detecting fraud, they can stop the losses from occurring by doing checks at the point of application.”
Both tools draw on the datasets from public authorities – such as electoral registers and the National Student Load Data System – held by the company in its NFI systems provider role.
Reat time tests
AppCheck runs real time tests to verify individuals applying for benefits or services, providing alerts if there are any discrepancies, and can also be used to establish an applicant's right to work.
ReCheck makes it possible to check existing customer records at any interval, which can be programmed in, to spot any changes in personal and financial circumstances that could affect a person's entitlement to benefits.
Stanton said the tools can help councils deal with cuts in their investigation teams, and while they will still have to perform two-year checks under the NFI it would reduce the burden.
“If you start at the point of application you can detect more at an earlier stage and will have less to do at the two-year point,” he said. “Most of the potential fraud would already have been wiped out and there would be only a handful of referrals.”
The NFI dataset contains over a third of a billion records from 23 sources, taking in factors such as fraudulent identities, immigration and deaths. It involves 1,300 participating organisations from the public and private sectors, and according to Synectics has been used to retrospectively identify fraud and overpayments totalling over £1.17 billion.
The company has been providing the service, first under the Audit Commission then the Cabinet Office, since it was set up in 1996, having won a series of five-yearly procurement exercises.
Image from Synectics Systems