Audit Commission freezes fraud charges

The Audit Commission has announced it is freezing charges to public bodies
for checking claims and payments data to prevent fraud.

The commission’s national fraud initiative matches information from housing
benefit claims, pensions and social housing records and other data supplied by
local authorities, the NHS, the police, probation boards and fire and rescue
authorities across England.

It saved £133m last year [2007-98] and more than £500m overall since it began
in 1996..

The programme detects over-payment of housing benefit, cuts incorrectly
awarded council tax discounts and cancels blue badges and travel passes still
claimed after the death of their holder. The commissions charges public bodies
idrectly for the service.

Chief executive Steve Bundred said:”In recognition of the financial pressures
that public bodies are facing in the current economic climate, we are proposing
that the scale of fees remains unchanged for 2010/11.”

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