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Reducing Public Sector Fraud

Volume 721: debated on Thursday 27 October 2022

I was so entranced by the brilliant advocate of civil service jobs in Scotland, the hon. Member for Rutherglen and Hamilton West (Margaret Ferrier), that I had forgotten my old friend, my right hon. Friend the Member for East Hampshire (Damian Hinds). I apologise to him and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

The Cabinet Office co-hosts the new Public Sector Fraud Authority with His Majesty’s Treasury. It will work with public bodies to better understand and reduce the impact of fraud against the public sector. In its first year, it will deliver £180 million in outcomes and agree targets with other public bodies. I hope that was worth waiting for.

It was well worth waiting for; I warmly welcome the Paymaster General to his place.

There is a lot of commonality between different types of public sector fraud and between public sector fraud and regular consumer fraud. Often, there are the same professional enablers, there can be the same criminal gangs, and of course, there are the same routes out for money laundering. Can he reassure me that he and his Department will continue to seek every possible synergy between what different Departments are doing, and between the Government and law enforcement?

My right hon. Friend is absolutely correct; I know he speaks from significant experience from his time in the Home Office. Tackling fraud is clearly critical. The Government work closely with the private sector to share threats, tools and practices. As an example, the Public Sector Fraud Authority’s national fraud initiative has developed pilots to use its data to help to find fraud in other sectors. The NFI assists utility companies and car hire and insurance sectors. Between April 2020 and March 2022, its work resulted in savings of £33 million.