Progress in Tackling Benefit Fraud
HC 102, Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, Session 2007-2008
- National Audit Office (NAO)
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
'Progress in Tackling Benefit Fraud (HC 102)' is a follow-up to the 2003 report 'Tackling Benefit Fraud (HC 393)' (ISBN 010292063X). The report sets out some key facts, including that the total benefit expenditure is £120 billion, the total number of recipients is 18 million, and the total estimated fraud is £0.8 billion.
In the 2006-07, £154 million was spent on six strategies to reduce fraud with a Departmental estimate of £106 million of benefit overpayments identified as a result of fraud investigation and compliance activity. Also in this period, the Department recovered £22 million of the total £339 million outstanding fraud debt. Although the National Audit Office has identified that fraud has fallen from an estimated £2 billion in 2001-02 to an estimated £0.8 billion in 2006-07, official error has risen in the same period from £1 billion to £1.9 billion.
Tackling fraud is a key priority for the Department for Work and Pensions and the report examines the main anti-fraud initiatives, recognising that tackling benefit is inherently difficult, that the UK has levels of social security fraud and error which are similar to those of comparable countries, and that the Department has made good progress in tackling fraud. However, the report suggests that the Department will find it increasingly difficult to secure further year on year reductions.
The Department's management information on fraud could be improved, with greater communication between the various departmental directorates responsible for counter-fraud work.
A review of the cost effectiveness of the Customer Compliance approach, which deals with lower risk cases of fraud, should be conducted.
A record of the outcomes of prosecution activities should be taken by case type to provide better Departmental information.
The Department must review recovery of overpayments in fraud cases and consider setting appropriate targets for recovery from customers who have committed fraud.
|Format||Paperback||Published||23 Jan 2008|
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