To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent steps her Department has taken to help ensure accuracy in the payment of benefits.
DWP takes significant steps to ensure the accuracy of benefit payments. Our Enhanced Checking Service, a team of trained fraud specialists, look at suspicious cases referred to them by benefit processing staff, which helps prevent fraud from occurring at the outset of a claim. Our Integrated Risk & Intelligence Service (IRIS) detects and prevents emerging frauds, which allows our various Disrupt Teams to respond to threats.
We revisited over 900,000 Universal Credit (UC) claims paid under ‘Trust and Protect’ procedures during the early days of the pandemic. Additionally, building on what we have learnt during the pandemic, we are currently creating a dedicated team to deliver targeted case reviews of existing Universal Credit claims. We are expecting to review over 2 million cases over the next 5 years, stopping around £2 billion of losses due to fraud and error over that period.
We increasingly draw on data to help inform benefit payments and the use of HMRC’s Real Time Information has almost eradicated PAYE earnings fraud in UC. We have extended this principle across a range of legacy benefits by way of our Verify Earnings and Pensions (VEP) service.
The Department maintains rigorous control of Official Error via its Quality Assurance
Framework, which provides assurance that the necessary quality controls are in place.
An Independent Quality and Assurance Team checks transactions conducted within DWP benefits and this insight informs training requirements, infrastructure improvements and risk management. A senior stakeholder group, comprising of Directors, oversees the quality agenda.
UC Official Error overpayments have fallen in each of the last 3 years, from 2.1% of UC expenditure in 2018/19 to 0.7% in 2021/22.