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Social Security Benefits: Fraud

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff were employed in tackling benefit fraud in each year since 1997. (257016)

The Fraud Investigation Service (FIS) was launched in April 2006 to address cases likely to result in a criminal sanction. Prior to that date, fraud was managed by regional directors as part of the overall business in Jobcentre Plus and directly comparable figures are not available. Additionally in April 2006, customer compliance teams were set up within each customer service region to look at those cases where there is an apparent irregularity that does not warrant a criminal investigation. At the time FIS was launched it is estimated 810 staff nationally were invested in the customer compliance process.

Staffing figures for FIS since 2006 are given in the following table:

As at April each year

Number

2006

3,210

2007

2,973.7

2008

2,840.1

2009 (Allocation)

2,815

These figures are full time equivalent numbers to account for part-time staff which is why they are not whole numbers.

The figures include staff working in area fraud, criminal intelligence, organised fraud and technical and support roles all of whom provide an essential and integral contribution to the investigation process.

Prior to the launch of the FIS figures for fraud investigators are given in the following table:

DWP fraud investigators

April to March

Full time equivalent

2004-05

1,843.5

2005-06

1,744.1

1. Information is not available in the aforementioned format prior to 2004.

Source:

Fraud Business Report.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of benefit fraud in 2007-08. (257093)

Estimates of amount of benefit overpaid due to fraud are available in the DWP National Statistics publication “Fraud and Error in the Benefit System: April 2007 to March 2008” (ISBN: 978-1-84763-691-1), a copy of which is in Library.