§ Mr. Dalyell
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his letter of 20 July, POS (4) 3019/11 to the hon. Member for Linlithgow, when he expects to complete his examination of potential applications for information technology in the automation of benefit payments; and what study he has made of related attempts by individuals to obtain benefit by fraudulent means.
§ Mr. Arbuthnot
The Department of Social Security and Post Office Counters Ltd. invited, on 17 August 1994, expressions of interest from potential suppliers of systems 59W for the automation of benefit payments. Ninety-two expressions of interest have been received. Suppliers will shortly be asked to submit an outline proposal, which will inform the next stage of examination. It is hoped to conclude the selection of suppliers and technology by the end of 1995.
Improvement of the payment system is part of the Benefits Agency's on-going review of its claims and payment systems to ensure that benefit goes only to those who are genuinely entitled. Our strategy for fighting fraud is based on the principles of prevention, detection and deterrence.