Government launches counter fraud profession

Fraud is estimated to cost the UK government £73.6m per year

Photo: Holyrood

The Cabinet Office is bringing together 10,000 specialists from across government to form a new counter fraud profession that launches today.

The government counter fraud profession will deliver standards, guidance and tools to help tackle online and offline fraud in the public sector.

The announcement brings the number of established government professions, which also include policy, planning and science and engineering, to 28. It will provide formal recognition of counter fraud experts in government and raise the profile of the work they do.


It will also provide additional opportunities for career development through formal and informal networks, structured career pathways and qualifications.

Figures published by the Cabinet Office last year showed the annual cost of reported fraud to the UK governement more than doubled in the space of a year to reach £73.6m in 2015-16.

Writing for CSW about plans to establish the profession in 2016, Cabinet Office executive director Lesley Hume said it was “imperative” that public sector organisations “shine a light on the fraud problem that exists, and increase our capability to detect, prevent and deal with it”.

At the time, fraud was estimated to cost the UK government between £29bn and £40bn each year, and Hume wrote that it was “useful to think of that £29-40bn as an iceberg”. 

“This detected fraud is in areas such as tax, welfare and healthcare. But then there is the more significant part of the iceberg that is submerged beneath the waterline and is, for now, partially invisible to us,” she wrote. "Immediately beneath the waterline is estimated fraud that is measured but not detected and tackled. Then, perhaps most importantly, are the frauds that we, across government, do not currently detect, measure or tackle at all.”

Announcing the launch of the profession today, constitution minister Chloe Smith said it would “help make the UK a global leader in fraud prevention and detection”.

“The profession shows the government’s continued dedication to protect public services against attacks by a small group of unscrupulous people who break the law for their own personal gain,” she said.

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