DWP is committed to deterring and preventing fraud and error by benefit claimants.
The Department administers welfare benefits and pensions to around 18 million people. The latest published estimates showed that in 2016/17, of the £174 billion paid in benefit and pension expenditure 1.2% (or £2 billion) was overpaid due to fraud.
The creation of a single, integrated fraud investigation service means we now have one point of investigation for all welfare fraud, including Tax Credits and Housing Benefit. DWP prosecutes people who commit benefit fraud and introduced a range of tough powers to help deter fraud and error arising from negligence, including enhanced Loss of Benefit Penalties.
The Universal Credit design pays monthly in arrears and uses Real Time Information to inform payments. This greater sensitivity to income changes is helping reduce incorrect payments. We are increasingly applying this principle to other non Universal Credit claims, which is helping prevent fraud and error entering the system.
A key element of Universal Credit is the Analysis and Intelligence Hub, a data discovery capability using new analytical tools that identifies cases for investigation. We are also increasingly looking at 3rd party data to help improve this facility. A two year contract with a 3rd party credit reference agency commenced February 2017 and is generating additional referrals.