How can fintech solutions help governments tackle fraud, error and debt?

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
November 16, 2021
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Fraud and error during the Covid-19 pandemic will cost governments billions through false claims – and has highlighted the vulnerability of the public sector to fraudsters. But fraud is a deeper ongoing problem across the public and private sectors worldwide, with issues ranging from bribery and corruption through to procurement fraud, false benefits claims and grant applications.

But the trend towards digitalisation of systems and solutions creates new ways to tackle the problem, from leveraging data analytics as a fraud detection and prevention tool to the automation of due diligence and use of blockchain to bring greater transparency to procurement.

In the UK the government’s procurement agency, the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), has created a new ‘category’ for ‘Debt, Fraud and Error’ solutions, with a focus on the use of analytics and data; and, in March 2021, the agency said it was looking to ‘bring fintech to the fore’ as part of a newly created framework of ‘debt resolution’ providers.

Meanwhile, blockchain’s potential to prevent corruption in public procurement has been tested in Colombia, with a trial prompting ‘cautious optimism’ over its potential, according to a World Economic Forum (WEF) report: ‘Exploring Blockchain Technology for Government Transparency: Blockchain-Based Public Procurement to Reduce Corruption’.

In this Global Government Fintech webinar we sought to tackle questions such as: what is the scale of fraud and error in the public sector? Where are the opportunities for the public sector to use fintech solutions to tackle the problem? What are the barriers to fintech solutions’ adoption?


Martin Karro, Deputy Director General, State Shared Service Center, Ministry of Finance, Estonia

Martin is Deputy Director General at the State Shared Service Centre of Estonia and the Head of the Managing Authority for EU Structural Funds.

For almost four year Martin has been leading a transformation in the grants area of Estonia, consolidating seven different agencies under one roof. The outcome has been one window solution for the customer with higher customer satisfaction and leaner grants area set-up for the state with better management of the funds and increased efficiency.”

Ivana Gordon, Head of Grants Expert Services, Government Grants Management Function, Cabinet Office, United Kingdom

Ivana is the Head of Government Grants Expert Services at the Cabinet Office. Leading the provision of expert support and delivering digital tools, helping grant schemes to maximise the impact and effectiveness of administration, whilst reducing exposure to high levels of risk. 

With over 20 years’ experience and a passion for technology, Ivana has led several initiatives to democratise technology, bringing consistent technical and business insight to grant makers. Focusing on user led design and harnessing data and analytics, these initiatives are empowering the Civil Service, supporting better decision making, reducing fraud and error, and driving improved value for money.

Throughout her career she has held a number of strategic, operational and policy roles, and has improved quality, efficiency and safety of public services by delivering innovative system-based transformation.

Juha Kuusala, National VAT Anti Fraud coordinator, Finnish Tax Administration, Finland

Juha Kuusala is the national VAT Anti Fraud coordinator in the Tax Administration of Finland. Juha is experienced in VAT Anti Fraud work, starting tax auditor tasks more than 20 years ago and finally ending up to present-day duties as the head of VAT Anti Fraud team. His role is to coordinate and develop Anti Fraud functions and analytical approaches in all relevant tax control functions within Tax Administration and with other relevant authorities. To achieve this goal, the Finnish Tax Administration has developed the Anti Fraud strategy of pro/reactivity to reveal and prevent potential fraudulent phenomena.

Fraudulent activities have more and more international and professional nature. Better and faster to detect and prevent the misuse of tax systems, Juha’s VAT Anti Fraud team has developed real time risk analysis system based on data analysis, scanning all businesses on a constant basis to discover uncompliant players. Furthermore, to react faster to international fraudulent financial behavior, Finland and Estonia have implemented “first in the world” real time connection within tax data bases regarding tax debt, VAT and employers duty

Olga LaBelle, Vice President, Government Engagement, Mastercard, USA

Olga LaBelle leads the strategy and operations work for the Government Engagement team at Mastercard. In this role, she identifies opportunities for Mastercard to partner with the public sector on key strategic topics – including financial inclusion, economic development, supporting small and medium enterprises, and supporting economic recovery of key sectors like tourism.

Before joining Mastercard, Olga was at Boston Consulting Group, where she focused on public sector, social impact, and education. She helped develop the topic of Total Societal Impact, helping corporations use social and environmental needs as a lens for strategic growth and long-term competitive advantage.

Olga has a BA in Political Science from Yale University, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a Master in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Webinar chair: Siobhan Benita, former UK senior civil servant

Siobhan Benita was a senior civil servant with over 15 years’ Whitehall experience. She worked in many of the major delivery departments, including Transport, Environment, Health and Local Government. She also had senior roles at the heart of Government in the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury, including supporting the then Cabinet Secretary, Lord O’Donnell to lead work on Civil Service reform and strategy. Siobhan left the Civil Service to run as an independent candidate in the Mayor of London election. She subsequently joined her alma mater, Warwick University as Chief Strategy Officer of Warwick in London and Co-Director of the Warwick Policy Lab.