The government is claiming to have saved more than £12m in the past six months thanks in part to the increased use of data analysis technology to spot benefits cheats.
The Cabinet Office Counter Fraud Taskforce made the claim in its interim report into efforts to eliminate public sector fraud.
“Fraud is theft of taxpayers money. The National Fraud Authority estimates that fraud costs the public sector £21bn a year. This is totally unacceptable, which is why I’m really pleased to see our zero-tolerance approach to tackling fraud is working,” said Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office.
The government has made tackling public sector fraud – which is says costs the public purse £21bn a year – a priority as part of its austerity measures. As a result the Cabinet Office taskforce has overseen eight pilot projects, including one at HM Revenue & Customs that has already saved £10.63m.
The HMRC project involved the deployment of innovative data analysis tools, which screen tax credit applications, comparing information against other data sources, including from credit reference agencies.
The data analysis tools, which cost £1m, were paid for from the savings secured from renegotiating a contract with an undisclosed IT supplier.
According to the interim report, HMRC expects to save £256m over the next four years from the use of the technology.