Pioneering counter-fraud team to target public sector fraud

Andrew Stephenson, MP for Pendle, has welcomed the creation of a new Government counter fraud team, bringing together 10,000 specialists under one roof.

The Government Counter Fraud Profession will help detect and prevent fraud in the public sector, saving taxpayers’ money and bringing to justice those who defraud the services the public rely on.

Concerns about public sector fraud have been on the rise. A 2017 report found that the Government had identified £73.6 million had gone missing in one year with the amount of fraud prevented up from £9 million to £33 million in just two years.

However, a report published last month (September 2018) estimated that £1.29 billion had been lost to fraud in the NHS in just one year, the equivalent of paying for 40,000 new nurses.

There have also been high-profile cases in relation to funding for victims of the Grenfell Tower fire, including a finance manager for the local council convicted of stealing £60,000 to fund 5-star holidays abroad.

Mr Stephenson said: “Preventing the loss of money from our public services will lead to an increase in how much there is to pay for nurses and ambulances here in Pendle and across Lancashire. 

“The vast majority of Pendle residents play by the rules but unfortunately there are fraudsters out there with some even working in the public sector. I’m pleased the Government is taking steps towards prevent criminals preying on our public services.”

Minister for the Constitution, Chloe Smith MP said: “The profession shows the government’s continued determination to protect public services against attacks by a small group of unscrupulous people who break the law for their own personal gain.”