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19 February 2019

Thousands of pounds saved thanks to sophisticated data matching technology

Sophisticated data matching technology has been weeding out false claims for council tax discounts to protect public funds and to support the funding of key council services

The National Fraud Initiative (NFI), run by the Cabinet Office to compare computer records within local authorities, helps identify those who are wrongly claiming single person discount on their council tax as part of its work in preventing and detecting fraud.   
 
Last year Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council again stepped up efforts to identify fraudulent discounts using this intelligent data matching. 
 
This resulted in £65,422.64 being identified during a 2017/18 exercise as being fraudulently claimed from the council by 152 people claiming to live alone.  Cancellations will be backdated as far as the evidence shows the claims to be incorrect.     
 
 There will also be an additional penalty of £70 added on to the council tax of 25 people identified through the initiative who didn't alert the council of a change in circumstances, or who falsely claimed to live alone. 

It is estimated that the exercise will also generate over £50,000 which would otherwise have been lost through the fraudulent discounts for the following year. 
 
As part of the NFI, computer records from different bodies and departments, usually records containing personal information, are compared against each other to identify fraud and error.
 
This allows potentially fraudulent claims and payments to be identified so that an investigation can be carried out. 
 
Cabinet Member for Finance, Service Delivery and Improvement at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Cllr Robert Tate said: “I would encourage anyone who has a genuine claim for a reduction in council tax to get in touch.
 
“However, those who are found to be deliberately misleading in their applications are cheating other residents of funds which should be spent elsewhere. 
 
“The National Fraud Initiative data matching is proving invaluable in ensuring our approach to the single person discount is robust, fair and cost effective.” 

For more information on the National Fraud Initiative, visit www.basingstoke.gov.uk/fraud


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