National Fraud Initiative saves taxpayers in Wales £6m, says auditor-general

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A scheme to prevent and detect fraud against the public sector has saved taxpayers in Wales £6m, says a report.

The National Fraud Initiative (NFI) detected fraudulent over-payments and resulted in 54 successful prosecutions, said the auditor general for Wales.

Welsh public sector bodies such as local authorities, fire authorities and the NHS took part in the exercise.

The auditor general said since NFI began, it had led to the elimination of many long-standing, high-value frauds.

The exercise, which started in 1996, is run every two years and matches data across organisations to help the public sector identify potential fraud or mistaken claims.

Information submitted relates to, for example, housing benefit, rent, pension payments, payments to asylum seekers and council tenancies.

The auditor-general Huw Vaughan Thomas, said: "The Welsh public services are experiencing a sustained period of cuts in funding.

"The positive results of this NFI exercise show what can be achieved when we work in collaboration to combat fraud."

He said work was under way to broaden the NFI exercise into other areas that are susceptible to fraud.

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