London Counter Fraud Hub on course for full adoption

Pilot produces positive results in identifying cases for investigation, with prospects of ‘go live’ in July

The London Counter Fraud Hub (LCFH) is likely to meet the standards required by its contract and to be taken further when an ongoing pilot is complete, according to a report on the project.

Aerial view of LondonIt has been submitted by Guy Ware, director of finance, performance and procurement for London Councils, the representative organisation for the capital’s boroughs with oversight of the project.

The report indicates that, several months into the pilot that began in June of last year, it has produced positive results in the number of potential fraud cases identified.

The LCFH was set up to detect fraud across borough boundaries and maximise recoveries by enabling boroughs to share data and analytics capabilities. The pilot has involved four councils – Ealing, Camden, Islington and Croydon – and been aimed at testing detection of three types of fraud: council tax single person discount, business rates and housing tenancy.

Initial figures show it has exceeded the minimum standards in generating alerts of possible fraud to be investigated, hitting 5,066 against a required 887 for council tax discounts, 451 against 150 for housing tenancies and 1,346 against 176 for business rates.

Councils' confidence

All four councils expressed a reasonable degree of confidence in the solution, noting that it is finding more fraud than others being used, with far fewer false positives. Initial estimates of the potential gross savings for all London boroughs over the nine-year life of the contract to run the hub – with the Chartered Institute for Public Finance and Accountancy – are around £500 million.

A final round of user acceptance testing is now under way and the pilot is expected to be signed off in July. If this goes to plan the hub will go live in July with the pilot authorities, with 10 more scheduled to join in October.

There are also plans to automate the processing of single person discount fraud cases at Ealing by transferring files into the Northgate Council Tax System. The other councils are also looking at testing automation.

Image by Mai-Linh Doan, CC SA 2.0 France through Wikimedia