Compliance and Anti Fraud Strategy 2014-2018


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Minister’s Forward

In 2014, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection will spend almost €20bn in social welfare payments and will provide income support to some 1.4 million people every week. We impact on the lives of almost every person in the State.
 
While I am acutely conscious that the vast majority of people are receiving what they are entitled to, nevertheless, as a society, we have to recognise that fraud and abuse of the welfare system is an ongoing reality which needs to be tackled across a number of fronts.
 
To protect the integrity of the system - and to ensure that we continue to target our scarce resources at those who most need them - nothing less is acceptable.
 
The new Compliance and Anti-Fraud Strategy 2014 – 2018 builds on the approach and progress made under the Fraud Initiative (2011 – 2013). The previous plan laid a very solid foundation for us to build on over the next couple of years. We go forward with a clear focus on the areas we need to concentrate on and what we need to continue to do. But, of course, we must remain alert to new and emerging forms of fraud and abuse and so our approach needs to be flexible and dynamic in terms of how it is structured.
 
The overall aims of the new Strategy are threefold:
• to stop fraud from entering the system in the first place:
• to increase the likelihood of finding incorrect or fraudulent claims and quickly correcting these; and
• to strengthen the sanctions for those who are caught.
 
These aims are key to underpinning an effective strategy to tackle fraud and abuse over the next 5 years. They are also key to giving strong assurances to taxpayers and, indeed Irish society generally, that the system of control that we operate is robust and effective.
 
The new Strategy contains a number of measures – some new and some of which are building on approaches that we have been successfully rolling out over the past couple of years. The Department is always open to looking at the role that technology can play in doing its business more efficiently. In this context, a key aspect of the new Strategy will be the use of analytics technology to predict which claims are more likely to be fraudulent. This will enable the Department to target higher risk cases for investigation and to do so faster. This approach will be rolled out across our main working age schemes before the end of 2014.

We will also be increasing our presence on the ground through the secondment of Gardaí to the Department’s Special Investigation Unit. These officers will retain their Garda powers and will undertake the full range of duties in detecting and investigating social welfare fraud.

Despite the encouraging signs of growth in the economy and the reduction in the numbers unemployed, the Department remains the biggest spending Department. We have to ensure, therefore, that the right person is paid the right amount of money at the right time. The new Strategy sets out our current and planned approaches to sustaining our efforts to vigorously combat fraud and abuse of the social welfare system over the next 5 years. This remains a key priority for the Department and for Government as a whole.

Joan Burton
Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection
April 2014
Last modified:24/04/2014