Report: The National Fraud Initiative in Scotland 2018/19

July 9, 2020 by Audit Scotland

Covid-19 raises risk of public-sector fraud

Scotland's public finances have been boosted after a data-sharing exercise identified over £15 million of potential fraud and errors across the public sector. But auditors have warned that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought additional fraud risks.

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NFI data in Scotland

National Fraud Initiative data

Our interactive Tableau visualisations illustrate some of the data from our report:

A cluster of blue pins, with one red pin in the centre

Key MessagesNational Fraud Initiative 2018/19

Covid-19 icon

1. Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought significant challenges across the public sector as bodies seek to deliver services for individuals, communities and businesses in an extremely difficult time. Since the start of the pandemic, the risk of fraud and error has increased as organisations become stretched and controls and governance are changing.

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2. Outcomes

Since we last reported on the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) in Scotland in June 2018, outcomes valued at £15.3 million have been recorded. The cumulative outcomes from the NFI in Scotland since the first exercise 2006/07 are now £143.6 million. Across the UK, the cumulative total of NFI outcomes are now £1.93 billion.

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3. Results

NFI outcomes in Scotland have fallen by £2.4 million to £15.3 million in the 2018/19 exercise, despite an increase in participating bodies. Reduced levels of outcomes could be due to less fraud and error in the system, strong internal controls or less effective detection of fraud and error.

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4. Process

Most organisations demonstrate a strong commitment to counter-fraud and the NFI. Some could act more promptly and ensure that sufficient staff are in place to investigate matches, prevent frauds and correct errors.

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