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Fraud

Volume 487: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which Government organisations and departments are responsible for investigating fraud; what the procedures are for (a) co-ordination of their activities and (b) taking decisions on which agency takes the lead in investigating particular cases; if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of the system; and if he will make a statement. (250592)

Each individual Government body is responsible for investigating fraud against that organisation.

The National Fraud Strategic Authority (NFSA), launched on 1 October 2008, was set up to help organisations (both public and private) to co-ordinate their activities and work better together to build a more hostile environment for fraudsters. HM Treasury provides leadership by: outlining the responsibilities of Government sector organisations in ‘Managing Public Money’ and publishing data about internal fraud against Departments and executive agencies in the Government Annual Fraud Report.

Fraud is usually discovered through the normal operation of control procedures in individual Government agencies or as a result of individuals reporting their suspicions of fraud (e.g. to hotlines operated by those agencies.) Individual agencies investigate the cases that they discover or are made aware of.

This arrangement allocates responsibility to those most immediately placed to deal with it. All Government organisations use their internal audit functions to alert them to fraud and to advise about the effectiveness of their internal control processes. Those bodies where fraud risk is highest (e.g. DWP, HMRC, MOD, NHS) employ dedicated experienced fraud experts.

Following the recommendations of the Fraud Review, the National Fraud Reporting Centre (NFRC) and National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) will track all fraud against UK organisations including government bodies. The City of London police force plans for this new resource to start towards the end of 2010.