National Fraud Initiative
Since its commencement in 1996, National Fraud Initiative (NFI) exercises have identified over £35 million of fraud and overpayments in Wales. Reported overpayments include sums of money that have already been paid out and forward projections, where it is reasonable to assume that fraud, overpayments and error would have continued undetected without NFI data matching.
The most recent exercise covers the period 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2018. The latest NFI exercise has been one of the most successful to date – uncovering £5.4 million of fraud and overpayments across public services in Wales, compared with £4.4 million in 1996.
The initiative, which is carried our every two years, matches data across organisations and systems to help public bodies identify potentially fraudulent or erroneous claims and transactions. The Auditor General collaborates on the NFI with the Cabinet Office, Audit Scotland and the Northern Ireland Audit Office to match data across 13,000 organisations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
While all unitary local authorities, police, fire and NHS bodies in Wales are mandated to participate in the NFI, the Auditor General encourages all publicly funded bodies in Wales to participate on a voluntary basis and free of charge.
The Public Accounts Committee considered the Report in November 2018 and agreed to work with the Auditor General for Wales on counter fraud in the public sector.
The Committee held an informative and inclusive event on 1 July 2019 for stakeholders. This was delivered by public sector colleagues together with Wales Audit Office representatives to exchange support, good practice and knowledge about counter fraud in the public sector. The event considered:
Presentations from the event are available to view below:
The Auditor General published a further Report, ‘Raising Our Game’ - Tackling Fraud in Wales, in July 2020 and the latest National Fraud Initiative (NFI) exercise report was published in October 2020. The Public Accounts Committee took account of the findings of both of these reports during its scrutiny of the Welsh Government’s 2019-20 consolidated accounts in autumn 2020.
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First published: 16/08/2016