16 May 2008
An initiative aimed at cracking down on fraud and error affecting benefit, pension and other payments in Scotland has resulted in potential savings of £37m, a watchdog survey has disclosed.
In a report published on May 15, Audit Scotland says the National Fraud Initiative, operated by councils, health boards, and pension and other bodies, had made an impact and control systems were improving.
The £37m figure is the cumulative amount in fraud, overpayments and error detected following the first major roll-out of the scheme in 2004/05.
The report, National Fraud Initiative in Scotland 2006/07, shows that savings and overpayments recovered amounted to at least £9.7m. This was about a third less than the sum reported in the 2004/05 exercise, but was expected to rise.
The main savings were in housing benefits and pension payments. A total of 186 occupational pensions were stopped after it was found that the individuals had died.
Councils identified 2,224 housing benefit overpayments relating to public sector employees and pensioners.