Fraud Mitigation

– in the Scottish Parliament on 31st October 2019.

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Photo of Liam Kerr Liam Kerr Conservative

7. To ask the Scottish Government what steps Social Security Scotland has taken to mitigate the risk of fraud. (S5O-03691)

Photo of Shirley-Anne Somerville Shirley-Anne Somerville Scottish National Party

Social Security Scotland has effective fraud prevention measures in place, delivered through robust systems and procedures. The measures are detailed in our published counter-fraud strategy. Fraud risk assessments are carried out before the implementation of any benefit, with prevention and detection embedded in the system at design stage.

The risks that Social Security Scotland faces will evolve over time and in line with the different types of benefits delivered. Control systems will be continually developed to respond to evolving risks, protecting our benefits from those who intentionally seek to misuse them while contributing to an economic, efficient and effective system.

As I said, Social Security Scotland has effective fraud prevention, delivered through robust systems and procedures, as is detailed in the counter-fraud strategy.

Photo of Liam Kerr Liam Kerr Conservative

Audit Scotland seems to take a different view. It warns:

“The agency does not yet have an approach to estimating error and fraud levels for the benefits it delivers and for those it will become responsible for”.

As more complex benefits start to be delivered by Social Security Scotland, surely that will become a matter of urgency. When does the minister expect to have sufficiently addressed the concerns that have been raised by Audit Scotland?

Photo of Shirley-Anne Somerville Shirley-Anne Somerville Scottish National Party

I hope to reassure the member that we absolutely have the systems in place to analyse and detect fraud for the benefits that exist at this time. Audit Scotland did not identify or report any loss as a result of our not having the current regulations in place. The work that is already being undertaken on fraud is going well.

We are developing social security on an incremental basis. Therefore, the requirements of the benefits that we have at the moment are very different from what will be required when we move to wave 2, for the continuous payments for disability assessment. Just as we move forward with everything else in social security, we will build what is required for the benefits that are available. I am absolutely confident, and the agency is absolutely confident, that what we have in place is relevant for wave 1, and that what we will have in place for wave 2 will be stringent regarding fraud and error—importantly, it will also deliver the benefits that people require and are eligible for throughout Scotland.