Councils share best practice to prevent fraud

Counter fraud experts representing 13 local authorities across the country met to share best practice in the fight on fraud. 

It comes as data reveals the local authorities represented at the meeting saved taxpayers over £3.6 million across the most recent reporting year through their work with the Public Sector Fraud Authority’s National Fraud Initiative.  

The National Fraud Initiative is a large-scale counter fraud data matching service run by the Public Sector Fraud Authority, which compares data provided by public bodies, including some local authorities, to identify anomalies that may indicate fraud has been committed. 

Local authorities represented at the meeting include Hertfordshire, West Northamptonshire, and the City of London. 

They were invited in recognition of their significant work with the National Fraud Initiative. 

The most notable areas of savings delivered were in relation to fraud prevented by removing ineligible individuals from social housing waiting lists and pension fraud where individuals have been obtaining the pensions payments of deceased persons. 

They also discussed further achievements, including the Shared Anti-Fraud Service (SAFS) hosted by Hertfordshire County Council, who worked with the NFI to bring together data from eight councils across Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire using the NFI FraudHub service, to identify fraud or loss that could then be recovered.

Minister Neville-Rolfe was included in the meeting and said there was more work to be done, as well as encouraging attendees to find more ways to cooperate to identify criminals stealing taxpayer money. 

He also announced the expansion of the membership of the PSFA-led Community of Practice as now open to all local authorities. The Community of Practice is a knowledge and advice sharing forum for counter fraud experts across central, and now, local government, enabling greater collaboration and collective action in the fight against public sector fraud. 

Neville-Rolfe said: "It is essential that public sector organisations continue to work together to keep taxpayer money safe. 

"Today’s meeting allowed me to thank trailblazing local authorities setting the standard in fraud prevention and recovery. 

"We need to share this best practice across local government and deter and target criminals seeking to steal from the public purse."

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