Department for Transport: Fraud

Department for Transport written question – answered at on 23 April 2024.

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Photo of Jon Ashworth Jon Ashworth Shadow Paymaster General

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department has taken to reduce the costs of fraud in his Department in the last three financial years.

Photo of Anthony Browne Anthony Browne Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Since the establishment of the Public Sector Fraud Authority (PSFA) in 2022, the Department has been working closely with PSFA to implement the Counter Fraud Functional Standard framework, a common set of standards required by government departments to counter fraud, bribery, and corruption. To support compliance with the Functional Standard, the Department internally published its Counter Fraud, Bribery and Corruption Strategy for 2022-2025 to improve culture and awareness and build on the counter fraud activity delivered since the launch of DfT’s first strategy in 2019.

The following key activities have taken place to drive improvements in reducing fraud by improving detection activity, enhancing fraud prevention and building capability.

To support detection activity the department utilises Spotlight, a due diligence tool provided to departments by the Cabinet Office to help identify areas of risk and potential fraud and error. The department has also commenced a data analytics project utilising artificial intelligence to identify instances of fraud and error within high-risk spending areas. This initiative is providing comprehensive insights into fraudulent activities and errors that can be used to further strengthen controls and seek recovery of funds where fraud or error is identified. The Department’s contract management teams have furthermore increased their focus on fraud risks and detection, resulting in substantial sums recovered and returned to the Exchequer. Detected, prevented and recovered fraud is formally disclosed to the Cabinet Office who report publicly on these results across government in their annual Fraud Landscape Report.

On fraud prevention, a Fraud Risk Assessment (FRA) policy was introduced to enable accountable officers across DfT to take responsibility in ensuring that fraud, bribery, and corruption risks are adequately understood and effectively managed. The FRA process has been embedded into business-as-usual activity and has supported the department in identifying fraud risks, driving control improvements, and fostering continuous improvement in fraud risk management practices.

To build capability DfT has increased its engagement with the PSFA to enhance oversight, prioritisation of risks, delivery against counter fraud functional standards and sharing of best practice. We have increased our collaboration across the departmental group and across government networks to share lessons learnt, horizon scan for new and emerging trends and deliver collaborative best practice workshops, training sessions and awareness campaigns on areas of development e.g. risk assessment.

In 2023 and early 2024, DfT was one of the first departments assessed under the latest framework by PSFA for compliance against the Counter Fraud Functional Standard. The Department is now working with PSFA to take forward the recommendations from this review to drive further improvements in the Department’s counter-fraud function.

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