DWP expands benefits fraud team with 2.5k hires

DWP expands benefits fraud team with 2.5k hires

May 28, 2024

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) saved £1.3bn last year from the hands of fraudsters and now plans to continue the momentum

The benefits office plans to increase staff numbers by 2,500 and update the legal powers of the DWP as a bid to clamp down own fraud. This is predicted to save the taxpayer £9bn by 2027/28. This will bring the headcount to nearly 6,000.

The new staff members will be employed to check Universal Credit claims for legitimacy and introduce a new civil penalty targeting fraudsters.

Additionally, £70m will be invested into advanced data analytics so ‘those who wish to exploit the natural compassion and generosity of the British people will have nowhere to hide’, said the DWP.

The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill, currently being debated in parliament, will bring in new rules so that DWP can work with banks to identify potential fraudulent claims, which is expected to save a further £600m over the next five years.

Work and pensions minister Mel Stride, said: ‘We are scaling up the fight against those stealing from the taxpayer, building on our success in stopping £18bn going into the wrong hands in 2022-23.

‘With new legal powers, better data and thousands of additional staff, our comprehensive plan ensures we have the necessary tools to tackle the scourge of benefit fraud.’

New measures from the DWP come after the latest figures showed fraud was responsible for 40% of all crime. Also, the 2022 British Social Attitudes Survey showed a surprising 25% of respondents said it was not wrong or ‘just a bit wrong’ for someone claiming unemployment benefits to not declare £3,000 of earnings, also encouraging the DWP to take action.