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Public sector fraud worth £1bn unearthed

By Vivienne Russell | 18 March 2013

The National Fraud Initiative has uncovered £1bn in incorrect and dishonestly obtained payments in the UK since its establishment in 1996, the Audit Commission announced today.

Almost 10,000 cases of fraudulent single person council tax discounts have been detected or prevented, saving £160m, while £250m of Housing Benefit overpayments have been identified. Almost 70,000 blue badges and 97,000 concessionary travel passes have been cancelled.

Audit Commission chair Jeremy Newman congratulated the NFI’s participants. He said: ‘The vigilance of organisations – from local councils to central government departments – in supplying essential data and investigating potential frauds flagged up by the initiative, has paid off to the tune of £1bn.

‘We are working hard to ensure this valuable legacy of the Audit Commission continues to benefit the public.’

The National Fraud Initiative compares data held by 1,300 public sector and 77 private sector organisations. It flags up inconsistencies that could indicate fraudulent activities, particularly those that might be missed at the local level.

Participation by all local government and health bodies is mandatory. Participating central government bodies include: the Home Office; the Department for Work & Pensions; the Highways Agency; and Ordnance Survey.

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