HC Deb 07 December 1994 vol 251 cc244-5W
Mr. Bradley

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what has been(a) the personnel and other cost of anti-fraud work and (b) the amount recouped as a result of anti-fraud work in each year since 1979.

Mr. Arbuthnot

The administration of fraud work is a matter for Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member with such information as is available.

Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. Keith Bradley, dated 6 December 1994: The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the costs of anti-fraud work and the amounts recovered as the result of such work since 1979. Not all of the information you requested in available. Prior to the formation of the Benefits Agency (BA), most anti-fraud work was integrated with benefit claims processing and other mainstream local office activities and separate cost data was not kept. However, the bulk of investigations are now carried out by separately managed units - know as Fraud Sectors - which report to Area Directors rather than District Managers. Other investigations are conducted by the BA's separate Organised Fraud command. These organisational changes have enabled estimated costs of the main anti-fraud effort to be published in the two most recent BA Annual Fraud Reports. The figures are:

1992–93 £72.4m includes estimated £6.4m accommodation costs for Sector Fraud Teams, which are normally minor occupants of premises.
1993–94 £69.0m excludes accommodation costs for Sector Fraud Teams.

Estimated benefit savings from anti-fraud work during the same period were £558m (1992–93) and £654m (1993–94). Recoveries of benefit overpaid, including fraud cases, totalled £38m (1992–93) and £80m (1993–94). Information relating to the amount of benefit recovered directly as a result of anti-fraud work is not readily available and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost. I hope you find this reply helpful.

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