Councils getting better at fraud detection

Councils and other public bodies in England detected 33% more fraud in
2004/05 than compared with two years ago, according to a new survey.

The survey known as the National Fraud Initiative and conducted by the Audit
Commission, put the value of the fraud detected at £111m.

It also found that there were 2,497 overpayments made to dead pensioners, and
more than 3,000 bogus claims for housing benefit.

Among the other frauds the initiative helped public bodies to detect were:

· tenancy fraud among council and housing association tenants
· abuse of the right-to-buy system for former council homes
· illegal attempts to get jobs by failed asylum seekers
· people who had overstayed their UK visas.

Chief executive of the Audit Commission, Steve Bundred, warned fraudsters he
would step up his organisation’s reach.

‘For the future, the reach is being extended further, to include frauds such
as claims for student and single-person discounts for council tax,’ he said.

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