Sector Fraud”and “FightingFraud Together”[Cabinet Ofﬁce and National Fraud Authority
(NFA),2011a, 2011b].Both documents signalled an intention to decrease the losses to the UK
economy because of fraud –and in particular,the £20bn lost to the UK public sector in both
2011 and 2012 (National Fraud Authority, 2012,p.7;National Fraud Authority 2013,p.2).
Both documents place a signiﬁcant emphasis on fraud awareness and prevention, as
recommended by the Fraud ReviewFinal Report published in July 2006 (Attorney General’s
Ofﬁce, 2006, pp. 8, 116). Both also emphasise the need for improved information on fraud
whether this be improved intelligence on fraudster behaviour and activity (Fighting Fraud
Together) or in the risks and threats faced by individual organisations (Eliminating Public
“Eliminating Public SectorFraud”also emphasised the need for a collaborative response
to implementing a zero-tolerance approach to fraud, while “Fighting Fraud Together”
stressed the need for more effective enforcement activity to detect those committing fraud
and ensure that they receive appropriate sanctions. Limitations on police resources mean
that this approach will need to be delivered by both law enforcement and civilian counter
fraud teams and particularly as fraud is not a policing priority (Home Ofﬁce, 2004;Gannon
and Doig, 2010, p. 39). Each major central government body is required to have a counter
fraud champion to improve knowledge of fraud against Government departments [Cabinet
Ofﬁce and NationalFraud Authority (NFA), 2011b, p. 16].
The collaborative working envisaged by the Cabinet Ofﬁce presents a number of
practical challenges.The activities of many public sector bodies are principally governed by
their enabling legislation, the common law or the Royal Prerogative (Department for
Constitutional Affairs, 2003). Differing legal frameworks can lead to both ineffectiveness
and inefﬁciency when tackling fraud.Fisher (2010, p. 1), for example, posits that the present
arrangements for ﬁghting fraud in the UK’sﬁnancial markets “are lamentably deﬁcient”.
One of the reasons for this is that, the bodies concerned operate under different statutory
frameworks which leads to “overlappingresponsibilities and an unnecessary duplication of
both workforce and specialistresources”.
Convergence in legal frameworks and powers is insufﬁcient in itself to ensure effective
counter fraud management. Fraud management needs skilled staff with knowledge of the
law, investigative techniques, the abilityto manage evidence and exhibits and take witness
statements and the capability to provide interviewtranscripts and surveillance evidence. It
also requires a high degree of inter-personal and interviewing skills (Button et al., 2008,
p. 245). In addition, fraud investigations need access to specialist skills such as accounting
and computer forensics, and especially the latter, as more and more information is held in
electronic rather than paperformat. Similarly, fraud prevention needs staff skilled in system
design and control, so that appropriateaction can be taken to identify and counter potential
threats and control weaknesses which could lead to theft, data loss or corrupt activity
(Krambia-Kapardis,2002, p. 245).
It appears that staff qualiﬁed in these areas are thinly spread. The reasons for this are
complex. Research by Frimpong and Baker(2007, p. 132) suggests that this may be because
of the low status afforded to counter fraud staff, a lack of resources, inadequate training,
poor pay, poor career prospects,management apathy and out of date legislation.
However, the Cabinet Ofﬁce proposals for tackling fraud in the UK public sector and
economy only partially deal withthese issues. While their proposals for eliminating public-
sector fraud refer to the needto train all staff and change organisational cultures, there is no
mention of the skills, training and retention issues for the front-line staff who are to deliver
these proposals. The same is true for their proposals for tackling fraud in the UK economy
[Cabinet Ofﬁce and NationalFraud Authority (NFA),2011a, 2011b].