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International benchmark of fraud and error in social security systems

“Social security fraud and error is a problem not only for the UK, but also across the world. While we always want to see further progress, the international picture tells us that DWP is at the forefront in identifying, measuring and reducing this kind of fraud and error. I am encouraged that it will be able to pass on some of the lessons it has learnt, and gain from the experiences of other countries.”

Published:
20 Jul 2006

Child Support Agency – implementation of the child support reforms

“The Child Support reforms were a final but, in the event, unsuccessful attempt to deliver the policy behind the creation of Child Support Agency in 1993. While they have benefited a number of the poorest parents and children, overall they have not achieved value for money and have not achieved what they were designed to do.

“These problems will have caused genuine hardship and distress to many parents and their children. From design to delivery and operation, the programme to reform the Agency has been beset with problems which the Department for Work and Pensions, the Agency and its IT supplier EDS, have struggled to deal with.

“The Agency’s new Operational Improvement Plan is a significant step towards addressing these difficulties and is showing signs of improving the Agency’s performance, but, given the scale of the problems, there will be no quick fix.”

Published:
30 Jun 2006

Department for Work and Pensions Resource Accounts 2004-2005

“It is vital that people can rely on the accuracy of the leaflets the government produces to make informed choices about their lives. And it is vital that they can get hold of these leaflets and easily understand them when they do. The Department for Work and Pensions has made progress in these respects but needs to manage better the leaflets it produces to ensure those needing information can access it when they need to.”

Published:
26 Jan 2006

Dealing with the complexity of the benefits system

“The complexity of the benefits system is one of the most important issues affecting the performance of the Department for Work and Pensions. There is a balance to be struck between a system which is detailed enough to respond to needs and yet straightforward enough to be run efficiently, communicating clearly with customers and minimising error. This balance has not yet been reached. It is not for me to direct specific changes but I recommend that the Department builds on current work to tackle the problem both in the short and long term.”

Published:
18 Nov 2005

Department for Work and Pensions Resource Accounts 2003-2004

“I welcome the Department’s achievement in meeting the Government’s target to reduce fraud and error in Income Support and Jobseeker’s Allowance. However, in 2003-2004, as a result of fraud and error, an estimated £3 billion of welfare benefit was paid to people who were not properly entitled to the money. Therefore the challenges the Department faces in reducing the scale of fraud and error across the benefit system to an acceptable level still remain very large indeed.”

Published:
18 Jan 2005

Helping Those in Financial Hardship: The Running of the Social Fund

“The Social Fund provides an important safety net for some of the most vulnerable in society, many of whom will have limited or no access to affordable credit and mainstream financial services. The Social Fund is reaching many people in need. But the Department needs to raise awareness of it both with potentially eligible customers and its own staff.

“I am pleased that the Department is improving its debt recovery procedures and standardising the process for dealing with Social Fund applications across the country. But I am concerned about the standard of decision-making on Social Fund applications, as evidenced by the high number of errors on certain awards.”

Published:
13 Jan 2005

Child Support Agency Client Funds Account 2003-2004

“Once again I have had to qualify this account because of the high levels of historic error in maintenance assessments that completion of the Child Support Agency’s reforms are intended to remove. The operation of the new arrangements with their simplified methodology for calculating maintenance assessments has so far been disappointing. In 2003-2004, the first year of operation of the reform programme, the accuracy of maintenance assessments has not matched performance levels under the old scheme.

“I intend to report later on what the Agency is doing to achieve its agreed targets and to provide a faster and improved service to all parties and to complete the Reform programme.”

Published:
22 Jul 2004

Northern Ireland National Insurance Fund 2002-2003

“I have qualified this account because of high levels of estimated fraud and official error in the payment of benefits from the Northern Ireland National Insurance Fund. I note the measures being taken by the Department to reduce fraud and error, and will review progress as part of my audit of the 2003-04 account to see whether the desired outcomes are being achieved.”

Published:
21 May 2004

Department of Work and Pensions: Departmental Resource Accounts 2002-2003

“The amount of welfare benefit being lost through fraud and error is continuing to run at an estimated £3 billion each year. Once again I must point out that Parliament intends that this money should go only to those who are properly entitled. The challenge which the Department faces in reducing the scale of fraud and error to an acceptable level is very large indeed. However, it is crucial that as much of the money as possible goes to those who are in real need.”

Published:
16 Dec 2003