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Audit Commission identifies £229 million of fraud, overpayment and error

16 June 2014

Audit Commission has identified £229 million of fraud, overpayment or error in the UK.

Through the Commission’s fraud tackling arm, the National Fraud Initiative (NFI), it has been found that across the UK, £229 million was wrongly paid out.

The highest value categories identified in England included pensions (£74 million), followed by council tax single person discount (£39 million) and then housing benefit (£33 million).

The total value of cases of fraud, overpayment or error identified by the NFI is lower, albeit the number of cases rose by 19.4% over the same period.

The Commission believes this potentially indicates that participants are increasingly effective at the early detection of fraud, overpayment and error. This will have been helped by the Commission’s introduction of a new service, NFI Flexible Data Matching, which has made it possible for participants to undertake near-instantaneous data matching at any time.

Chairman of the Audit Commission, Jeremy Newman said: ‘The national figure for identified fraud, error and overpayment, that would otherwise be lost to the taxpaying public, is down by £46 million compared to the previous report although the number of cases has increased by nearly 20 per cent.

'This is great news if, as we believe, it is due to improving detection rates. However, we cannot be complacent. The more participants in the exercise, the richer the data for everyone involved and the harder it is for fraudsters to hide from detection. We know there are areas struggling to tackle fraud effectively, such as in the housing sector, and with only 35 housing associations participating in the exercise, we need greater involvement to get even better results in this area.’

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