Book News: June 26th, 2008

Since 1996, the Audit Commission has run the National Fraud Initiative once every two years. The data matching exercise compares sets of data to identify inconsistencies or other circumstances that might indicate fraud or error. The 2006/07 exercise detected fraud and overpayments of 140 million pounds. This was up from 111 million pounds in 2004/05.

The key outcomes from the 2006/07 exercise included 69 council properties recovered as a result of detected tenancy fraud, 2,819 cases identified where an occupational pension continued to be paid after the death of the pensioner with associated overpayments of 6.4 million pounds, 16,102 deceased persons’ blue badges cancelled and duplicate payments to suppliers of 1.75 million pounds detected.

More than 24 million pounds housing benefit overpayments were also detected. These have been classified as 31 per cent fraud, 62 per cent claimant error and 7 per cent local authority error.

For the 2008/09 exercise there will be a new data match to detect council tax single person discount fraud which looks set to increase the taxbase of local authorities by as much as 200 million pounds. The Serious Crime Act 2007 has amended the Audit Commission Act to include new powers enabling the NFI exercise to be extended to central government bodies and the private sector.

The report is available from the AC.