How to deliver services at pace – while squeezing out fraud

By on 12/02/2021
Finding the patterns: combing through datasets, digital tools can help identify fraud in public service delivery

Faced with a global pandemic, civil servants have moved quickly to distribute vast sums of money – providing both protection for the public, and opportunities for fraudsters. But if the poachers are sophisticated, so are the gamekeepers: today’s digital technologies offer a swathe of new capabilities in fraud prevention and detection

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.

Millions of jobs and thousands of lives have been saved. But acting at the scale and pace required to match the pandemic presents enormous challenges – including those around preventing, identifying and prosecuting fraud. And even before COVID arrived, 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. Adopting end-to-end intelligence and investigations management solutions can, for example, help government departments to:

  • Increase investigation efficiency by enabling fast, accurate collaboration based on the most up-to-date information;
  • Better utilise investigators’ expertise by eliminating manual tasks such as data entry and freeing up time for on-the-ground investigations;
  • Improve intelligence by breaking down information silos and creating a positive feedback loop to improve the quality of future investigations.

The SAS Institute recently produced a report on today’s counter-fraud techniques and tools: to download it, please register using the form below.

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