Most successful NFI exercise to date
A national counter-fraud exercise has helped Welsh public bodies to detect and prevent £6 million of fraud and erroneous payments, according to a report released today by the Auditor General for Wales.
The National Fraud Initiative (NFI) exercise, which is run every two years, matches data across organisations and systems to help public bodies identify potentially fraudulent or erroneous claims and transactions. The latest exercise has been the most effective to date. As well as detecting fraudulent over-payments, the successful prosecution of 54 people for fraud offences is likely to deter others from committing similar offences.
With public services in Wales already having to make significant reductions in their budgets, the NFI is making a positive contribution to eliminating waste and inefficiency; thereby ensuring that resources are targeted at those people who need and are entitled to them.
Forty-three Welsh public sector bodies took part in the exercise, including local authorities, police authorities, fire authorities, probation boards and NHS bodies, the Welsh Government, Cardiff University, the Wales Audit Office and other public sector auditors.. Since NFI began in 1996, it has resulted in the detection and prevention of £22 million of fraud and error and to the elimination of many long-standing, high value frauds. The latest exercise demonstrates that NFI continues to be a highly effective counter-fraud tool.
The Auditor General for Wales, Huw Vaughan Thomas said today:
"The Welsh public services are experiencing a sustained period of cuts in funding. The positive results of this NFI exercise show what can be achieved when we work in collaboration to combat fraud. Fraud is a serious issue as it impacts on the funds available to deliver the services we all rely on; with this in mind and following on from the success of NFI, work is currently underway to broaden the scope of the NFI exercise into other areas that are susceptible to fraud."
"The success of the NFI is due to the efforts of many public servants across Wales, who have put in considerable work to review the data matches, identify and stop fraud, recover overpayments and ensure that those responsible are brought to account."
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