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Benefit Fraud

Volume 301: debated on Friday 21 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if she will publish the reports of inspections made by the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate; and if she will make a statement. [17704]

Our aim is to bring about a permanent reduction in the amount of benefit fraud. The Benefit Fraud Inspectorate (BFI) will play a vital role in driving up operational standards to maximise counter-fraud performance and minimise the risk of fraud throughout the Social Security system. A key role of the BFI is to identify and disseminate good practice to bring the performance of all up to the standards already achieved by the best.Over recent months, BFI's procedures have been developed and rigorously tested in a series of trial inspections. The BFI is now carrying out the first formal inspection of Blackpool Borough Council's administration of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit, in particular their performance in the prevention and detection of benefit fraud.Starting with the Blackpool inspection, all BFI reports, including those on DSS Agencies, will be made publicly available. We will not include sensitive material of potential benefit to fraudsters in published reports.Copies of the reports will be placed in the Library. Further copies will be available from the Department on request.