28/09/2012

DWP Fraud Checks 'Weak' Says Committee

A committee of MPs has found the government failed to be rigorous enough in detecting fraud among its welfare-to-work providers.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had missed "vital evidence" of possible fraud, particularly at the firm A4e, the public accounts committee has said.

Committee chair Margaret Hodge said the DWP had "not been proactive in setting in place systems which root out fraud".

However, A4e said a recent audit of the firm had found no evidence of fraud.

MPs accepted that financial checks on welfare-to-work schemes had been improved under the current government.

But Labour MP Ms Hodge said that "risks remain, especially to value for taxpayers' money", with the Work Programme, which launched in 2011.

She explained: "The design of the programme still allows for the possibility of providers being paid for finding work for people who found the jobs on their own."

According to the report, the DWP spends about £900m each year on programmes designed to help unemployed people find, and keep, jobs, with both private companies and charities securing contracts.

But A4e - the government's largest provider - is currently the subject of a police investigation into allegations of fraud relating to its multi-million-pound welfare-to-work activities.

(H)


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