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Fraud and Risk Focus Blog

Cifas bring Local Authorities into their fraud prevention network with pilot scheme

21 March 2019


Cifas CEO, Mike Haley and Local Government Lead, Rachael Tiffen with some of the winners from FFCL awards in March 2019.

Welcoming Local Authorities into Cifas membership

Over a dozen councils have agreed to join Cifas as part of a year-long live pilot, running from April 2019, with a second tranche of councils joining the pilot later this year.

This pilot will give participants access to the deep pool of high fraud risk data which Cifas holds, our wide network of partner organisations, and our tools and insight to better inform their investigations into fraud cases.

Data sharing and collaboration are at the core of everything we do at Cifas and we are delighted to be adding more partners to the battle against fraud in the UK.

Over the last year, Cifas has focussed on increasing our insight into the challenges facing local authorities. We provide the secretariat to Fighting Fraud and Corruption Locally, maintain our own Local Authority Steering Group, and, in January 2019, welcomed councils to our offices for the inaugural Cifas Local Government conference.

This all-day event invited local authority staff to hear from expert speakers from Cifas and others working in the counter fraud industry. An Organised Fraud Intelligence Group roundtable also took place, allowing attendees to discuss stories and trends they had experienced, which revealed several common issues among those in discussion.

One participant described the event as, “a watershed moment for Local Authorities. For too long [local authorities] have been on the outside of the intelligence network fighting cross sector fraud. [We are] really looking forward to taking our seat at the table…”

During March, around 50 staff will be trained on Cifas’ systems and will soon be able to start using the tools and data which the majority of the financial services sector employ in the fight against fraud for the first time from April.

Fraud in Local Authorities

In 2013, the National Fraud Authority estimated local authority fraud cost the taxpayer £2.1bn. The largest fraud types which contributed to this significant figure were procurement (£876 million), housing tenancy (£845 million), payroll (£154 million) and council tax fraud (£133 million). Amid dwindling counter fraud staff and smaller budgets, local authorities have continued to work collaboratively on the front line in order to protect the public purse.

Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, recorded a 38% increase in the total number of fraud filings recorded by its members to the National Fraud Database (NFD) between 2013 and 2017, alongside a 34% increase in the value of annual member savings. Therefore, the likelihood is that despite staff at local authorities working across organisational silos and improving technology, the cost of fraud will have increased.

Joining Cifas

In coming months, it is Cifas’ aim to expand the network and offering to local authorities. For any local authorities who are interested in joining Cifas, want to know more about the pilot, or how to attend our events, please contact our Local Government Lead, Rachael Tiffen: rachael.tiffen@cifas.org.uk | 020 3960 7830.

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