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Fraud

Volume 229: debated on Tuesday 27 July 1993

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many officers have been involved in investigating social security fraud in (a) local offices and (b) regional teams in each year since 1979.

The administration of fraud investigation is the responsibility of Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member with such information as is available and a copy will be placed in the Library.

Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. John Battle, dated 26 July 1993:

As Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency, it is my responsibility to answer questions about relevant operational matters. I am therefore replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security asking how many officers have been involved in investigating social security fraud in (a) local offices and (b) regional teams in each year since 1979.
I regret that I am unable to provide you with all the information you have requested but I hope that you find the following helpful.
The Sector Fraud Organisation has only been in existence since January 1991 and prior to that date staff investigating fraud were provided by the Local Offices when required and were not counted separately. The regional fraud teams ceased to exist when the Sector Fraud Organisation was set up.
The first full year for which figures are available is the year ending 31 March 1992. The number of sector fraud staff in post at that date was 2,742. At the year ending 31 March 1993 there were 2,789 sector fraud staff in post.
In addition to the Sector Fraud Organisation the Benefits Agency also uses discrete teams to investigate organised and multiple claims fraud. In the year ending 31 March 1992 there were 227 staff involved in the prevention and detection of organised and multiple claim fraud. The figure for the year ending 31 March 1993 was 268.
I hope you find this reply helpful. A copy will appear in the Official Report and a copy will also be placed in the Library.