How the PSFA could help counter fraud on a path to prevention

Aug 8, 2022
As the UK Government announces the Public Sector Fraud Authority (PSFA), Clare Elford, CEO of investigation and intelligence software provider Clue, comments on what the initiative means for the counter fraud community and progress towards fraud prevention.

As the UK Government announces the Public Sector Fraud Authority (PSFA), Clue comments on what the initiative means for the public sector counter fraud community and progress towards fraud prevention.

Fraud does not “bang, bleed, or shout” and it seldom makes headlines. But comprising nearly 40% of crime in the UK alongside cybercrime, its impact is devastating to public services.

Welcome news arrived last week, however, with the UK government announcing the formation of the Public Sector Fraud Authority (PSFA). Backed by a £25 million budget and a target to deliver £180 million in benefit each year, plans for the PSFA include:

  • Developing “ambitious” government counter fraud support for departments and public bodies.
  • A new National Counter Fraud Data Analytics Service.
  • Enhanced use of fraud intelligence across the public sector.

The initiative will support and build upon the great work already being done by public sector counter fraud teams to disrupt fraud at scale which, according to previous government estimates, is costing public services between £29 and £52 billion every year.

Supporting progress in counter fraud

Led by Mark Cheeseman, the PSFA’s mission to “innovate and modernise” counter fraud efforts may come as welcome news to public sector counter fraud departments facing significant shared challenges.

Earlier this year, Clue surveyed counter fraud specialists across government, public sector, and policing organisations.

Our research revealed challenges in data management, talent acquisition, manual workloads, intelligence sharing & collaboration and, underpinning them, wider awareness issues around the scale of fraud and resources required to combat it.



Navigating the path to prevention

At the same time, these same counter fraud teams are making progress towards proactive strategies focused on disrupting fraud before it takes place, by raising awareness of, implementing, and leveraging benefits provided by technology.

Some of these emerging pockets of best practice include:

  • A greater understanding as to the power of collaboration in keeping pace with changing threats, particularly regarding the facilitation of seamless intelligence and data sharing.
  • Agreement that acquiring resources and developing capabilities requires driving awareness internally and across public sector – and the ability to demonstrate and quantify preventative action.
  • A practical realisation that faced with growing data volumes, data management, analytics and intelligence tools offer better scope for detection of early warning signs, and allow teams to better manage limited resources.

As digital transformation continues, developments in technology will continue to enable the evolution and industrialisation of fraud. Combined with advances in the counter fraud community’s approaches to data management, interoperability and collaboration, technology also provides the answer to preventing it.

Clue is confident the PSFA will be critical in providing resources to government and public sector fraud teams enabling them to better leverage technology to navigate these challenges.

Clue surveyed counter fraud specialists on the front line of government and the public sector to identify the key challenges faced by the UK counter fraud community. Our research surfaced pockets of best practice adopted by investigations teams that are enabling them to push back against the growing threat.

In our report Counter Fraud 2022: Navigating the Path to Prevention we share these steps forward.

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