Data-matching unearths £50m worth of fraud

23 May 02
The Audit Commission has uncovered £50m lost by local authorities through fraud and overpayments as a result of its biennial data-matching exercise.

24 May 2002

The National Fraud Initiative, which matches council records with data held by other organisations in a project involving more than 600 separate bodies, has helped to identify thousands of instances where benefits have been claimed fraudulently or overpayments made.

A wider range of data has been used this year, such as information from NHS payrolls and pension funds. This has exposed new areas of fraud that would otherwise have gone undetected and led to a 20% increase in the value of losses identified, compared with the last such exercise.

Housing benefits and occupational pensions were the most fertile sources of fraud, each accounting for £24m of the total uncovered.

Sir Andrew Foster, controller of the Audit Commission, said: 'By sharing information, public bodies are helping to shine a spotlight on areas that have gone uninvestigated. On top of the losses uncovered, this will deter would-be fraudsters who have progressively fewer places to hide. The Audit Commission is committed to expanding this useful national exercise.'


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