Embedding Data and Analytics into the Counter Fraud profession in Government – how understanding the value of data will help drive the fight against fraud


Over the past few years, the role of data and advanced analytics has grown significantly across Government. Despite this though, the sentiments above are still common when talking about data.

The use of data and analytics within Government, including in the counter fraud profession, has previously been confided to specific departments or single use cases with little strategic planning and development.

How can Government develop a true data mindset across every touchpoint in their organisation?

The Centre of Expertise for Counter Fraud within the Cabinet Office is leading the way on improving the standard of counter fraud activity, providing a central focus on how the fraud threat is changing and – more importantly – is being tackled across Government.

As more data sharing pilots are launched, and analysts across Government are empowered to test new techniques and work to a new set of professional standards, we will see the improvements in how fraud is tackled operationally.

Naturally, over time as results improve, the value of these initiatives and the underlying data will become clear. However the time to value can be accelerated through greater collaboration. For example:


What do Government and the private sector have in common when it comes to fraud?

It’s the ever-increasing sophistication of how fraud is carried out, and the ever-changing profile of the fraudster. By embracing industry leading analytics and technologies to fight fraud, Government will not only improve their ability to tackle complex and evolving fraud threats, but it will also prove the value of such approaches, leading to further expansion of such activity across both the Public Sector and within Private Sector partners.


Tackling the traditional and the innovative

Any investment in cutting edge analytical techniques for fraud detection and investigation should not be feared by those who favour more traditional investigative approaches based on qualitative industry knowledge and experience. We have seen in the past that some departments do not fully recognise the data they have as an asset in the fight against fraud. Running seminars to share ideas, cross-department working to share experience and including different staff in working groups are just some of the ways we have seen engagement increase in the past.

We need to avoid falling into a battle between the traditional and the innovative. Whilst analysing available data will provide new insight into individual behaviours and fraud patterns, and data sharing will highlight links between fraud types and suspects that may have never been investigated before, the role for skilled investigators will never be lost, but will be enhanced by taking advantage of the data assets and techniques available.


Introducing the cultural shift

Data and analytics should enhance existing intelligence-led activity to improve the ability to prevent, detect and investigate fraud across all areas of Government. By embedding data and analytics into existing operational processes, and implementing new policy changes, we will start to see a culture shift, and an increase in cooperation to jointly fight fraud as a community, with Government leading the way in the advancement of analytical techniques and data sharing.

The responsibility for this engagement falls to all of us who have an interest in improving the ability of Government to prevent and detect fraud and error. By working in partnership, across different teams, departments and organisations to share ideas, results and data we will ensure that data and analytics continues to become a normal part of strategic planning and everyday processes.

Experian are sponsoring ‘The International Counter Fraud Data Analytics Conference 2020’ in March. Along with other public and private sector partners, will be sharing our experiences of using data and analytics to fight fraud and error in Government. We’re looking forward to being part of this discussion and helping drive the fight against fraud in the future.