A hacker using a laptop

NAO report outlines Home Office fraud failings

According to a report, published by the National Audit Office, the government does not know the full scale off the threat that fraud poses to individuals and businesses and is yet to lead an effective cross-government strategy to tackle it.

With the Home Office being responsible for the prevention and reduction of fraud, it is required to work in partnership with other government bodies, including the National Crime Agency, the City of London Police Force and other sectors such as finance, telecoms and technology. This collaboration is crucial, considering 80% of fraud offences in the UK are done using computer technology.

The NAO, in its Online Fraud report from 2017, came to the conclusion that the government has overlooked fraud, however the threat from fraud has increased since that report. Crime figures show that fraud amounts to 41% of all crimes against individuals.

This has led to the latest report from the NAO deeming “that there are still significant gaps in the Home Office's understanding of the threat from fraud” and that “he Home Office does not understand the full extent or impact of resources dedicated to combatting fraud. In 2017, the NAO found that the Home Office needed to improve the way it measured its work on fraud. It still does not have a complete picture of what is being spent on tackling fraud by its partners in the public and private sector, or how effective this spending is.”

One positive to take away from the report is that the NAO have recognised that the Home Office made some improvements to how it goes about collating and monitoring data regarding to fraud.

Gareth Davies, Head of the NAO, said:

“Five years on from our last report on this subject, the Home Office has taken limited action to improve its response to fraud. Its approach has lacked clarity of purpose, it does not have the data it needs to understand the full scale of the problem, and it is not able to accurately measure the impact of its policies on this growing area of crime.

“For its planned Fraud Strategy to succeed, the Home Office must be vigorous in leading a cross-government response that is informed by a thorough understanding of what works in combatting fraud.”

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