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Departmental Fraud

Volume 507: debated on Monday 15 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff in her Department were responsible for each instance of fraud or attempted fraud attributable to such staff (a) against the benefits system and (b) in other areas in each of the last five years. (316400)

[holding answer 8 February 2010]: The figures in the following table show the number of staff involved in instances of attempted or actual fraud where the investigation was completed in the year stated. The figures relate to all the benefits administered by DWP, theft of assets and financial irregularities. This analysis is consistent with the way in which the Department reports information on staff investigations to HM Treasury.

Number of staff

Benefit fraud

Other fraud

Total staff in post

2004-05

4

48

126,988

2005-06

52

118

119,972

2006-07

51

93

114,500

2007-08

62

110

107,998

2008-09

42

156

102,374

While recognising that only a very small number of our staff commit fraud, the Department has a robust approach to the detection, prevention and deterrence of staff fraud consistent with HM Treasury guidance. Where fraud is proven, staff are subject to disciplinary action and, in the case of criminal offences, the Department will normally seek to prosecute, engaging the police where necessary.

The Department has a whistleblowers’ hotline to enable staff to report suspicions of fraud.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate she has made of the losses from (a) the benefits system and (b) other areas attributable to fraud committed by staff of her Department, in each of the last five years. (316401)

[holding answer 8 February 2010]: Information is not available in the exact format requested from 2004 as losses were only broken down into the specified categories from April 2005. Overall totals are therefore provided for 2004-05.

The following tables contain the estimated losses arising from attempted or actual fraud by staff where the Department’s investigation was completed in the year stated (not including the value of the fraud arising from false employment applications where the loss to the Department is notional).

All fraud: Value of loss (£)

DWP total expenditure (£ billion)

2004-05

52,857

118.9

Value of loss (£)

Benefit fraud

Other fraud

DWP total expenditure (£ billion)

2005-06

83,135

109,895

123.6

2006-07

435,452

72,782

126.7

2007-08

346,527

195,151

133.3

2008-09

301,528

216,149

142.7

While recognising that only a very small number of our staff commit fraud, the Department has a robust approach to the detection, prevention and deterrence of staff fraud consistent with HM Treasury guidance. Where fraud is proven, staff are subject to disciplinary action and, in the case of criminal offences, the Department will normally seek to prosecute, engaging the police where necessary.

The Department has a whistleblowers’ hotline to enable staff to report suspicions of fraud.