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Fraud expert talks up big data as government reveals £2.8 billion losses

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Fraud expert talks up big data as government reveals £2.8 billion losses

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Finance

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With official figures revealing that benefit fraud and claimant error overpayments totalled £2.8 billion in 2013, a fraud expert has outlined how big data can enable public sector organisations to enforce a zero tolerance approach.

Amanda Gardiner, public sector fraud expert at SAS UK, said: “Public sector fraud is not just a financial issue, it hits the hearts and minds of every citizen in the UK. This type of fraud is an emotional issue for the taxpayer as it is very much like taking the money straight out of their pocket. Every Government department realises that every pound lost in fraud is a pound less for front-line services. The £20bn currently lost each year is more than a third of total spending by the Department for Education.

“The use of big data analytics gives public sector organisations power to gain insights into fraud, so it can enforce a zero tolerance approach. These threats can appear in many forms, from opportunistic citizens, organised gangs or internal perpetrators. Fraudsters can be swiftly identified when the public sector treats its information as an asset, collecting it, valuing it, and analysing it in smarter, more efficient and effective ways to tackle this problem. Detection is further improved if the data and insights from data are shared across departments.

“A lot more than data matching is required. A hybrid approach is needed – not just traditional analytics, but other techniques such social network analysis (understanding how various parties are connected) and detection of anomalous behaviour are required to build a more complete picture. While the drop in fraudulent benefits claims is to be welcomed, there is still a considerable level of fraud across the public sector that needs to be tackled.”

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