Government to fund 270 local government fraud investigators

11 Dec
Government to fund 270 local government fraud investigators


Wednesday, 11 December 2013 09:03
The Government is to make £16.6m available to fund an additional 270 fraud investigators for local government over the next two years.  The move follows the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s confirmation in the Autumn Statement 2013 last week that the Department for Work and Pensions would proceeed with establishing the Single Fraud Investigation Service (SFIS).

The SFIS, which will come into being in 2014, will investigate all welfare fraud across all benefits administered by the DWP, HMRC and local authorities. But concerns had previously been expressed by local authorities such as Craven District Council over the potential loss of benefit fraud investigation expertise.

The Department for Communities and Local Government insisted that the Government would work closely with the Local Government Association and councils to “ensure that the best data, powers and incentives are in place”.  The DCLG said that in addition to providing the £16.6m funding, it would also initiate a project with local government to ensure data was “shared between SFIS and councils and ensure SFIS and councils have the ability to jointly investigate and prosecute fraudsters”.

A separate £9.5m was allocated recently by the Department to help 62 local authorities tackle social housing fraud.  Communities Minister Baroness Stowell said: “This Government is determined that those who do the right thing are rewarded and those who don’t are not. This £16.6m of funding is just the start in our continued fight against fraud. The Government has worked hard to help local government and I want to see a renewed drive and commitment in tackling this problem.

“Local government fraud costs this country £2bn every year – money straight from the pocket of hard working taxpayers. Councils must do everything in their power to ensure they recover this money and we will do everything in ours to help them.”



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