§ Mr. Dewar
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment (1) how many people were prosecuted for fraud by her Department in the latest year for which figures are available;
(2) what is the number of whole time equivalent staff employed by her Department and its agencies to detect and prosecute suspected fraud; and what is the cost of their employment;
(3) how much her Department has saved from the investigation of fraud in the latest year for which figures are available; and what are the targeted savings for the next financial year.
§ Mr. McLoughlin
[pursuant to his answer, 28 October 1992, column 716]: The chief executive of the Employment Service has written further to the hon. Member.
Letter from M. Fogden to Mr. Donald Dewar, dated 26 February 1993:As the Employment Service is an Executive Agency, the Secretary of State has asked me to write to you direct to respond to your Parliamentary Questions about
- (i) how many people were prosecuted for fraud by the Department in the latest year for which figures are available,
- (ii) what is the number of whole time equivalent staff employed to detect and prosecute suspected fraud, and what is the cost of their employment,
- (iii) how much the Department has saved from the investigation of fraud in the latest year for which figures are available, and what are the targeted savings for the next financial year.Unfortunately our reply of 28 October contained a factual error about the cost of the fraud operation. The original reply quoted the half yearly cost which was £13.24 million, however, the total yearly cost of the operations was £21.54 million. The following reply now contains the correct information. Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience this has caused.The latest year for which figures are available is that of the financial year ending 31 March 1992 during which a total of 2,265 people were prosecuted for fraud. We currently have 1,300 people, of whom 780 are Inspectors, employed in the detection and prosecution of benefit fraud. The total cost of our fraud operations amounted to £21.54 million. The net savings from our investigations into benefit fraud amounted to £34.34 million. We do not set targets for benefit savings accrued from benefit fraud investigation. Our performance is measured by the number of claims withdrawn following investigation by Inspectors and our target is for 58,000 such claims to be withdrawn by the end of the present financial year.As decided by the Administration Committee of the House of Commons, Chief Executive replies to written Parliamentary Questions will now be published in the Official Report. I will also place a copy of this letter in the Library of the House.