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Education Maintenance Allowance

Volume 460: debated on Wednesday 9 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps his Department has taken to tackle fraud on the payment of education maintenance allowances to older children; how many staff have been involved; how many fraudulent claims were established; how many prosecutions have been made; and how much has been recovered in each of the last five years. (135931)

[holding answer 8 May 2007]: After extensive piloting, the education maintenance allowance was rolled out nationally from September 2004. In taking the decision to roll out the scheme, the Department ensured there were robust arrangements in place to minimise the risk of fraud.

Responsibility for operating the education maintenance allowance, and maintaining and implementing a strategy for managing the risk of fraud, transferred to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) on 1 April 2005. The LSC have provided a response to these questions as follows:

The EMA national scheme has been operating in its current form since September 2004 and is currently being paid to over 500,000 learners aged 16 to 19.

All aspects of EMA fraud are proactively managed by a compliance manager, drawing upon support from a number of colleagues and external experts as and when required.

The following table provides details on the number of fraudulent claims established and the amount of money recovered for the three years of the national scheme.

Number of fraudulent claims established

Amount recovered (£)

200405

0

0

2005-06

15

1,120

2006-07 (to date)

9

540

Due to the relatively small sums involved no prosecutions have been made to date.