The latest bi-annual national counter-fraud exercise has helped Welsh public bodies to identify £4 million of fraud and erroneous payment, and £229m across the UK, according to a report released by the Auditor General for Wales today.
With public services Wales facing their biggest challenge for a generation and facing significant reductions in real term budgets in the coming years, it has become imperative that public bodies work to eliminate waste and inefficiencies within their current services.
Started in 1996, the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) exercise, matches data across organisations and systems to help public bodies identify potentially fraudulent or mistaken claims and transactions. So far this exercise has found £26 million of fraud and overpayments in Wales, and £1.17 billion across the UK.
As well as the £4 million identified during the 2012/13 round, this data has also lead to the successful prosecution of 40 people for fraud offences and sanctions in another 73 cases.
Auditor General for Wales, Huw Vaughan Thomas said:
“The positive results of the latest National Fraud Initiative report again highlights the importance and relevance of the scheme to combat fraud within the public sector. Fraud is a serious issue as it impacts on the funds available to deliver the services we all rely on. We will continue to look for new datasets and new match areas to enhance our fraud-fighting capability. It is disappointing that, despite the proven track record of NFI in delivering savings, more organisations in receipt of public money in Wales do not take part on a voluntary basis. I would encourage all public sector bodies (or indeed any organisation) to contact the Wales Audit office to discuss the benefits of being involved in the NFI”
Forty-three Welsh public sector bodies took part in the exercise, including local authorities, police authorities, fire authorities, NHS bodies, The Probation Trust, the Welsh Government, Cardiff University, Glyndwr University, the Wales Audit Office and other public sector auditors.
National Fraud Initiative 2012-13: Ensuring the proper use of public funds