The Deputy Director of Finance submits a report to provide the Audit and Risk Committee on the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) exercises currently underway.
The Committee is recommended to receive and comment on the report, and make any recommendations it sees fit to the Executive and/or the Chief Operating Officer / s151officer or Deputy Director of Finance.
The Deputy Director of Finance submitted a report for noting which provided information for the Audit and Risk Committee on the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) exercises currently underway.
Stuart Limb, Corporate Investigations Manager presented the report, and the following points were highlighted:
· The NFI had been carried out every two years since 1996.
· A summary of matches was highlighted at para 4.5 in the report.
· The authority participated in two data matching exercises: one with other authorities, and the other with data matching internally.
· The matches were then allocated on the secure online portal to key contacts around the authority to check those matches to ensure there was no fraud or error in the systems.
· 14698 matches came to the authority 29th January 2021. So far over 5,000 had been checked and validated for fraud or error, so were progressing really well.
· It was stressed that not every match had to be checked on the exercise, but was checked on a risk-based level, with the highest risk first.
· The NFI provided an invaluable impartial data-matching exercise that the authority had to participate in. It matched numerous data sets across the authorities, for example, tenancies, data claims, blue badge, with other authorities across the country to check there was no duplication.
In response to questions from Members the following points were made:
· In matches undertaken by 23rd June 2021, the table listed two errors having been identified. It was reported that at the time of writing the report, the NFI website was showing two overpayments, since which the errors had been clarified with the service area and explained away as no fraudulent overpayments which had been returned to £0.
· The exercise had undoubtedly demonstrated its value over the years to detect and reduce fraud. Whilst not having identified major fraud and errors, it had been useful, particularly in London boroughs where the population was quite transient and crossed borders easily, to covers millions of pounds of matches.
· The reverse was if nothing was found during the exercise, it gave an assurance the level of fraud and error was quite low.
The Chair thanked the Officer for the report.
1. That the report be received and its contents noted.