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DWP hires 3,400 benefits police to check Universal Credit accounts | Personal Finance | Finance

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The DWP is hiring 3,400 people to form a ‘benefits police force’ to check people’s bank accounts using Artificial Intelligence.

In a new Fraud Bill set to be brought to parliament this month, the Department for Work and Pensions is committing to hiring 2,000 new ‘case review agents’ to block Universal Credit benefits cheats.

It will also hire 1,400 new ‘counter fraud professionals’ to carry out ‘enhanced checks’ on people claiming benefits which will include using ‘new technologies’ like AI to weed out benefits cheats.

The DWP has already hired 3,000 new staff to tackle Universal Credit cheats and it plans to hire even more.

The government said, in its Fighting Fraud in the Welfare System report: “This year we have reviewed over 200,000 claims, finding and putting right incorrect declarations on almost 50,000 claims, and stopping individuals from building up debts. This has included finding unreported capital of over £16,000, wrongly declared self-employment expenses, and undisclosed second homes.”

The DWP adds that it will use AI and other analysis techniques to clamp down on even more fraud.

It says: “DWP will continue to explore the opportunities offered by new technologies, new data sources and advanced analytical techniques to support the reduction and prevention of fraud within the Welfare System. New tools and approaches will be tested in safe and controlled environments to understand their effectiveness and suitability to tackle the problems DWP face.

“Investing in advanced analytics, such as machine learning, is essential to enable the public sector to keep up with offenders. Sophisticated criminals already utilise such tools to analyse large amounts of data to exploit existing weaknesses and vulnerabilities in public sector systems.

“In DWP these tools can play a crucial role in detecting and preventing fraudulent activities in DWPs benefit systems. Going forward we want to maximise the benefits that advanced analytics and machine learning can offer.”

“Where these tools are used to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud, DWP always ensures appropriate safeguards are in place to ensure the proportionate, ethical, and lawful use of data with human input. In decision making, any final decision will always be made by a member of DWP staff and DWP seeks to ensure compliance using internal monitoring protocols. DWPs Personal Information Charter sets out in more detail how the Department uses these tools, as well as Artificial Intelligence and automated decision making.”

 



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