It’s your money!!!
I am pretty sure that if, like me, someone stole money from you, you'd be pretty annoyed and want something done about it.
Well that's exactly what happens when someone commits fraud against the public sector. They are in fact stealing from you - and it happens a lot - over £20bn each year in public sector alone.
The Audit Commission now estimates that approximately 98,000 social homes in England could be subject to tenancy fraud compared to just 50,000 in 2009. The cost of tenancy fraud across both local authorities and housing associations to the public purse has now risen to an estimated £1.8bn a year.
We can't just let fraudsters continue to exploit a system that has been designed to provide those with a genuine need an affordable place to live. More needs to be done if we want to shut the door on tenancy fraud and if just a further 20% of local authorities introduced a dedicated fraud team the return to the tax payer would be in the region of £200m - £300m p.a!
On a positive note, our recent research (released today 9.9.2013) has revealed a 70 per cent increase in the number of detected tenancy fraud cases in 2012, but whilst the findings show improvements in detection rates for tenancy fraud, it does highlight the scale this type of fraud has reached. It is clear to all that tenancy fraud is still widespread and if this unacceptable abuse of the system is to be stamped out, local authorities need to work closer together, share their own data with that held by third parties such as Callcredit.
So what are we doing to address these issues?
Two years ago we set about helping government and local authorities stop this largest fraud being committed against local authorities - tenancy fraud at a cost of circa £900m p.a.
We commissioned research to find out what was going on - we developed solutions designed with the specific needs of our customers in mind to help tackle the problem and our most recent research will help shape our future solutions too.
- Fraud detection going up :-)
- Recoveries increasing :-)
- In one case savings of £4.5m ploughed back into front-line services by the council :-)
- Only 20% local authorities have a dedicated team :-(
- Right-to-buy fraud increasing :-(
As with all types of public sector fraud, the key to tackling it is to understand the scale of the problem and the inherent risk, work to prevent fraudulent activity occurring and put in place a zero tolerance approach to dealing with identified cases. It is also worth remembering that each property recovered from a fraudster allows a person/family in genuine need to be housed.
You see, this is real money - your money!!
Full details of our research paper can be found here