Feeds

IT tackles benefit cheats

You've been Fraimed

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Technology is helping catch benefits cheats but there are doubts about a key case management system, according to a new report by the National Audit Office (NAO)

In Progress in tackling benefit fraud, the NAO praises the government's record in reducing fraud from an estimated £2bn in 2000-01 to £800m in 2006-07. The significant drop has been achieved through IT initiatives including data matching and the National Benefit Fraud Hotline, it says.

The NAO's last report on the subject in 2003 expressed concerns about the management information available to the Department for Work and Pensions. It said the department used a number of different IT systems, all of which required manual input and that these systems were not integrated and were often regionally based. Rekeying of data was leading to delays and errors.

Action taken by the department since then includes developing a more intelligence led approach to countering fraud, using a tool called Frisc (Fraud Referral and Intelligence Scoring Card) to prioritise cases.

In 2007 it started the roll out of a new case management system, Fraims (Fraud Referral and Intervention Management System), aimed at speeding up case management processes. Full roll out was expected by October 2007, but is now being staggered over a longer period "to take account of the complexity of the system". It should be in place by March 2008 and will have cost £65m.

Although it can streamline fraud case management, the NAO says Fraims does not, however, cover all of the lifecycle of cases.

For example, it does not support the counter-fraud activities of prosecutions and debt management. Due to the long delays in the project, there is scepticism among counter-fraud staff about how effective the system will be in delivering the expected improvements, such as documenting old case information.

NAO head Sir John Bourn said: "The Department for Work and Pensions has made tackling benefit fraud a priority and has made good progress in reducing fraud, which represents a substantial achievement by its staff. It is also ahead of other comparable countries in its measurement and understanding of benefit fraud."

Bourn also said the department's specific counter fraud activities cost £154m during 2006-07 and identified £106m of overpaid benefits. Although some of the department's initiatives lead to earlier interception of overpayments and may deter potential fraudsters, he said the department could do more to determine whether its activities are cost-effective.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.