How to support fraud prevention and detection, while delivering services at pace

By on 30/03/2021 | Updated on 30/03/2021
Finding the patterns: combing through datasets, digital tools can help identify fraud in public service delivery

Civil servants have moved quickly to support the people and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. And while this has presented an opportunity for fraudsters, digital technologies are improving counter-fraud tools and techniques

Since the pandemic struck, the government has spent some £271bn on protecting people’s health and livelihoods – acting at unprecedented pace to support individuals and organisations with new public services.

Speeding procurement processes, establishing new grant and loan schemes, funding people’s salaries and businesses’ COVID costs, civil servants have disbursed vast amounts of taxpayers’ money to carry the country through the pandemic. But acting at the scale and pace required to match the pandemic presents enormous challenges – including those around preventing, identifying and prosecuting fraud.

Even before COVID, fraud was a growing problem: in 2019 the Cabinet Office’s Cross-Government Fraud Landscape Annual Report highlighted a 21% rise in suspected fraud allegations between 2017 and 2018. As public servants continue to address the health, social and financial costs of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to act against fraud in public services.

If civil servants face a greater fraud problem, however, they also have access to more data and better investigative tools. Analysing vast quantities of intelligence information, digital technologies can help pinpoint patterns of behaviour, map out networks of activity, and identify the relationships between the entities involved. This helps to improve the efficiency of investigations and use the expertise of investigators more effectively by eliminating manual tasks such as data entry.

The SAS Institute recently produced a report on today’s counter-fraud techniques and tools. If you would like more insights into what’s available, download our free report by registering using the form below.

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