The equivalent of 7,843 full time teachers' salaries, over £300m, was saved by the government's National Fraud Initiative (NFI) over the last two years due to fraud and error in the public sector being prevented, according to a new Government report. Working with 1,200 public and private sector organisations, the NFI carried out 'data matching' by comparing groups of data electronically i.e. payroll records of a body, against other records held by either the same or another body to check their similarities.

Pension fraud and overpayments constituted the largest category of fraud discovered by the NFI (£144.8m) and 234,154 concessionary travel passes were cancelled. Over £24.9m of housing benefit fraud and overpayment was also identified and 58 social housing properties were recovered.

One notable statistic reveals that no less than 31,223 blue badges have been revoked or withdrawn. This doubtless reflects frequently expressed concerns on the part of the Police that vehicles are often found blocking street parking and areas restricted to resident permit holders, yet the drivers often appear to be able bodied and are not accompanied by a disabled passenger.

Encouragingly for the government their efforts are being noticed, with 71% of respondents to an NFI Survey (July 2017) believing the NFI helps participants to prevent and detect fraud.

Minster for the Constitution, Chloe Smith, also released the NFI's strategy for the upcoming four years, stating it was designed to givers users "flexible and sophisticated fraud prevention and detection tools that achieve results quickly and efficiently", with strands including 'embracing new technologies to improve existing and develop new products' and 'better targeting of existing and new fraud risks'.

Read the report here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-saves-300m-in-two-years-by-preventing-fraud-and-error