£229m Fraud Losses Hit Public Sector
Following publication of The National Fraud Initiative’s 2012 report, earlier today, Alan Downey, partner and head of public sector at KPMG comments on the measures needed to reduce public sector fraud.
He says: “What the National Fraud Initiative figures show is that fraud, overpayments and errors, particularly in pensions, council tax and housing benefit, are all causing huge losses to the public sector totalling £229m in England since May 2010. This is of major concern at a time when the public purse is already stretched thinly.
“Of course, it’s fair to say that, as organisations across the public sector implement austerity measures and change their day-to-day business operations, fraudulent claims should become easier to detect. But at the same time, the reality is that there are fewer people available to identify fraud meaning that judgements have to be made about what resources are put in place to tackle the problem. What matters now is how organisations put robust checks and balances in place to ensure that decisions about fund distribution are not made in isolation. They also need to agree a consistent set of criteria to determine how funds are allocated.
“The UK cannot afford to foot the bill for fraud and the only way to tackle it is to ensure the right people and processes are established. It’s tough enough providing a service with reduced funding so measures must be carried out to prevent budgets escaping through the back door.”