Issue - meetings

National Fraud Initiative 2018

Meeting: 24/09/2018 - Audit and Standards Committee (Item 39)

39 National Fraud Initiative 2018 pdf icon PDF 341 KB

Report of the Director of Finance and Resources.


The Counter Fraud Audit Manager updated Members on progress with the NFI 2018. 


In two weeks’ time the Council would be uploading data to the Cabinet Office to undertake a data matching exercise principally involving public sector organisations. An increasing number of private organisations are taking part. The last NFI helped identify £300m of fraud including £145m in pension overpayments, £50m in benefit overpayments or fraud, the revoking of 234 concessionary travel passes and 31,000 blue badges were revoked or removed.  The Council’s participation this year will involve uploading data including payroll, creditor payments and creditor standing data, information from pensions and supported private care home residents, concessionary travel pass holders, blue badge holders and direct payment recipients. The data would be uploaded in line with GDPR and the DPA requirements.  Fair Processing Notices had been issued. Data would be uploaded from 8 October and the Council was hoping to have resultant interesting matches for the Council to look over from the end of January 2019.  The NFI report relating to the previous data matching exercise (NFI 2016) was available from the Cabinet Office and would be available on the Intranet shortly.


Members asked for clarification on how the £145,994 recovered in 2016 in Staffordshire compared with previous years.  The Counter Fraud Audit Manager stated that the information was available in the Annual Report that came to the Committee in June 2018.  Details would be circulated to Members.


Members asked for a differentiation between intentional or malicious fraud and unintentional fraud.  The Counter Fraud Audit Manager explained that this was taken into consideration, for example in cases where a resident was found to have two blue badges due to a recent house move. There was only an entitlement to one blue badge, and one would be cancelled.  No further investigation would take place. 


Members asked how we worked with local district councils in regard to this matter and asked if the £3,750 fee charged for County Council participation in the NFI could be shared between district and borough councils.


The Counter Fraud Audit Manager explained that there was a mandatory scale of fees that is different for each Council.  Each participating Council is charged a madatory fee set by the Cabinet Office.  Data is shared across all participating organisations including district councils.  Potential data matches between Councils are dealt with on a case by case basis.


Members were concerned that potentially there was a conflict between data protection and confidentiality and asked how such conflicts were resolved.  Members also stated that the time, effort and amount of money spent on detecting and preventing fraud was a concern compared with the financial return.  The point was made that fraud was not endemic. 


Members were reassured by the policy and process for retaining and releasing information at Staffordshire County Council.


RESOLVED: a) The report was received b) The previous years’ fraud recovery figures would be circulated to Members.