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Audit Scotland IDs£10m of fraud

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Audit Scotland has identified almost£10m worth of fraud and errors across public bodies including councils.

The 2006-07 National Fraud Initiative (NFI) formed part of the audits of 74 bodies, including councils, police forces, fire and rescue services and health boards.

Information about deceased persons, public sector employees and pensioners, benefit applicants, failed asylum seekers, expired visas and students were compared to look for inconsistencies. ‘Matches’ are investigated.

Auditor general for Scotland Robert Black said: “This is the second time the National Fraud Initiative has been carried out extensively in Scotland. I am very pleased that more public bodies took part this time and that, as a result,£9.7m of frauds, overpayments and errors and errors were identified.”

672 housing benefit cases identified

The main results from NFI 2006-07 are 186 pensions stopped after NFI identified that the pensioner was deceased and 1,552 housing benefit cases involving public sector pensioners.

Other results include 672 housing benefit cases involving public sector employees and 969 ‘blue badge’ disabled parking permits cancelled after NFI identified that the holder was deceased.

Bodies are now seeking to recover around£2.8m of housing benefit overpayments. As a result of NFI-related enquiries 17 employees were dismissed or resigned.

Auditors found that the vast majority of participating bodies made satisfactory arrangements for managing their role in NFI and showed they were committed.

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