National Fraud Authority
|Executive agency overview|
|Executive agency executive||Stephen Harrison, Chief Executive|
The National Fraud Authority (NFA) was an executive agency of the United Kingdom Home Office responsible for increasing protection for the UK economy from the harm caused by fraud. The NFA worked with a wide range of partners with the aim of making fraud more difficult to commit in the UK.
Formerly the National Strategic Fraud Authority, it was set up in October 2008 in response to the government's Fraud Review in 2006. It concluded that fraud was a significantly under-reported crime, and while various agencies and organisations were attempting to tackle the issue, greater co-operation was needed to achieve a real impact within the public sector. The scale of the problem pointed to the need to bring together the numerous counter-fraud initiatives that existed, which is when the NFA was formed.
The Home Secretary Theresa May announced in December 2013 that the NFA would be closed on 31 March 2014. Strategic development and threat analysis was transferred to the National Crime Agency, Action Fraud was transferred to the City of London Police, the e-confidence campaign transferred to the Home Office and responsibility for the development of the Counter-fraud Checking Service was taken on by the Cabinet Office.
The NFA works to tackle frauds across the spectrum, but also works on fraud types and fraud issues that are a notable problem. These include identity fraud, mortgage fraud, accommodation addresses, mass marketing fraud and fraud affecting small and medium sized businesses. The NFA also produces the Annual Fraud Indicator, which estimates the cost of fraud. The last estimate made put the cost of fraud to the UK at £52 billion a year. Working with the charity, Victim Support, the NFA has also done some significant work with victims, to ensure they receive the support they deserve if they have been a victim of the crime.
Action Fraud is the UK's national fraud reporting service, run by a private sector company called bss for the NFA. Action Fraud is the place to go to get information and advice about fraud, as well as to report fraud. UK citizens can report fraud online (such as forwarding scam emails for inspection) or by telephone. When a fraud is reported to Action Fraud, victims are given a crime reference number and their case is passed on to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), which is run by the City of London's police service. The Action Fraud website also has an A-Z of fraud describing different types of fraud, and offers prevention advice.
Annual Fraud Indicator
The NFA publishes the Annual Fraud Indicator every year, which is the UK's comprehensive estimate of how much fraud costs the UK. The annual fraud indicator for 2012 was published in March 2012, and estimated that fraud would cost the UK over £73 billion that year. This was up from £38 billion in 2011. When broken down by sector, the indicator revealed that fraud losses to the public sector amounted to £20.3 billion, the private sector lost £45.5 billion, the not-for-profit sector lost £1.1 billion and individuals lost £6.1 billion.
Fraud in the Public Sector
The NFA's 'Fraud in the Public Sector action plan' places a firm emphasis on enhanced measures to prevent fraud in central and local government. This has been broken down into 15 workstreams.
- May, Theresa (2 December 2013). "Written statement to Parliament". GOV.UK. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
- "Annual Fraud Indicator". National Fraud Authority. March 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2013.