A consortium of 12 local authorities has deployed an evidence-based solution that has allowed it to identify higher than projected levels of fraud and error in benefits systems.
CapacityGrid is supplying its CTR (Council Tax Reduction) and FERIS (Fraud and Error Reduction Incentive Scheme) Review Service to the group of local government authorities.
In the first sixty days since the introduction of the service, the councils have identified a 75% strike rate – meaning the majority of recipients of reduced council tax payments are receiving an incorrect deduction.
Although Vijay Chandiramani, chief operations officer (COO) at CapacityGrid), explained to 24N that these errors can occur for a variety of reasons – for example people may have genuinely forgotten to update their local authority on a change of circumstances rather than actively trying to cheat the system – it is still very important for local government to have a clear idea of where error is occurring.
The 12 council-strong consortium decided to invest in the CapacityGrid solutions after winning the highest single award of funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) funding totalling £1.2m.
This financial backing was intended to help support initiatives that aimed to reduce CTR fraud and error.
The company delivers CTR and FERIS Review Service as a fully managed service which works by matching real-data that is live at the point of review.
It then undertakes a full end-to-end intervention on cases where it is identified that error may be present.
All evidence associated with CapacityGrid’s intervention is provided electronically so councils have a complete and auditable record of everything that has been done at the point of decision.
The firm works with GBGroup (GBG) as a strategic data partner which allows for the analysis of data relating to Housing Benefit and CTR claimants and identification of cases where there is a potential mismatch of data.
“Councils across the country need to ensure they are better equipped to tackle fraud and error. It’s all about making sure that money isn’t being wasted through claimant or clerical error and benefits go to those in genuine need,” claimed strategic director at Pendle Council, which is leading the consortium, Dean Langton.
“As well as targeting those cheating the systems, we can now ensure that residents, particularly those who are vulnerable, are not missing out on the discounts they are entitled to,” he added.
Meanwhile, Chandiramani has said that CapacityGrid will continue to work in partnership to help the local authorities make fast progress against their FERIS targets.
“The initial project findings have shown that an evidence-based approach using multiple data sources can quickly uncover fraud and error, ensuring that councils can reduce unnecessary losses,” the COO claimed.
“Our CTR and FERIS Review Service is a great example of how CapacityGrid is bringing affordable and outcome-based solutions to local government,” he added.