The UK Government estimates that £31 billion to £49 billion is lost each year by fraud and error in the public sector. Across all departments, the public sector faces numerous fraudulent challenges.
Enhancing intelligence capability across those in counter fraud and fraud prevention roles is critical to tackling the growing issue. One rising target of fraud in the public sector is local authorities.
CIPFA revealed that the prevalence of fraud increased from 75,000 cases to 80,000 in 2018 and the total value of fraud prevented by councils decreased by £34 million. The number of cases linked to serious or organised crime had also doubled in comparison to the prior year, as reported by the CPIFA Fraud and Corruption Tracker (CFaCT). This included a significant increase in the amount lost to business rates fraud, rising an estimated value of £7.3m.
Rob Whiteman, Chief Executive of CIPFA said:
‘Fraud is a serious issue for local authorities.’ ‘Fraud deprives the government of the vital resources it needs to provide public services. When local government is running on empty – as it is now – it needs to preserve every last drop.’
Intelligencia Training has successfully delivered innovative intelligence programmes to a range of local authorities across the UK, supporting them in the fight against fraud. Most recently, a cohort of 30+ delegates from Wolverhampton City Council participated in an intelligence operations apprenticeship.
One learner, Paul Dosanjh, Service Lead – Trading Standards, commented:
‘Intelligence analysis methods are vital to ensuring that we can deliver the most effective targeted interventions so that we get the most “bang for every buck” of public money.’
In 2018, a mixed cohort of local authorities, including Hertfordshire County Council, Suffolk County Council, Luton Council and The London Borough of Hackney, represented the first public sector organisations to take advantage of the Apprenticeship Levy funded intelligence programmes.
Andrew Butler, Head of Protection (Business), Hertfordshire County Council said:
‘It is more important than ever before that we make the best possible use of the intelligence that we have to ensure we are directing our resources in the right areas.’
Developed by a consortium of public and private sector organisations, with expert input from across the intelligence community, the new Level 4 Intelligence Analyst Apprenticeship Standard represents the UK’s highest level of vocational training available for those working in intelligence and data analyst roles.