(2) what assessment was made by the Prison Service of the risk of fraud in its latest assessment of business risk; what the date was of the last assessment; and if he will make a statement;
(3) how often within the last five years the Prison Service Fraud Investigation Unit interrogated Prison Service corporate data to identify indicators of fraud; and if he will make a statement.
[holding answer 26 June 2006]: There are the equivalent of two full-time staff within the Fraud Investigation Unit, which is contained within the Audit and Corporate Assurance Group. The unit has undertaken 90 investigations over the last five years:
Number of investigations 2001-02 25 2002-03 17 2003-04 14 2004-05 15 2005-06 19
Number of investigations
Individual establishments and headquarters groups are required to undertake a fraud risk assessment annually and to ensure appropriate controls are in place to mitigate this risk. In addition, one of the key systems in place to manage one of the Prison Service corporate risks measures the effectiveness of compliance with financial controls and standards. The Prison Service Management Board has assessed this as satisfactory at the last assessment on 24 April 2006.
The Fraud Investigation Unit along with other members of Audit and Corporate Assurance have been fully engaged in advising on the design of major Prison Service systems for human resources, Finance and Procurement, in order to reduce the risk of fraud. Once these systems have been fully implemented, it is intended that the Fraud Investigation Unit will use appropriate software to interrogate corporate data systems. It has not yet happened.