UK government to use data and AI to ‘hunt down’ fraudsters

Quantexa’s Decision Intelligence Platform will be implemented to fight economic crime, targeting public services

Posted 1 February 2023 by Christine Horton

The Cabinet Office has awarded data analytics firm Quantexa a new contract to help the government recover public sector debt.

The Public Sector Fraud Authority (PFSA), which was set up last year to help public bodies tackle fraud against the public purse, will work with Quantexa to use new data and cutting-edge technology, including Artificial Intelligence, to find and prevent more fraud across the public sector. Quantexa said its technology is capable of processing billions of data points at high speed to identify suspicious activity.

 The £4 million contract is part of a wider investment across government to take the fight to those committing fraud against the taxpayer – rooting out fraud and using modern tools and techniques to stop it before it happens. 

“The most effective way to fight the rise of economic crime is with sophisticated data and analytics technology,” explained Quantexa CEO Vishal Marria.

“Fraudsters attacking citizens through public services need to be anticipated and stopped, which this partnership is set to do. As economic crime policy continues to evolve, innovative Decision Intelligence technology can ensure the accurate and effective use of data and analytics that quickly spots risk by providing the context needed to empower decision makers to form trusted decisions. We’re excited to continue our work with the Cabinet Office to support the UK government in its journey to modernizing the civil service, which includes greater transparency on their approach to fighting criminals targeting the public.”

Cabinet Office Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe said fraud against the public purse “is unacceptable and we’re stepping up the fight against those who wish to profit off the backs of taxpayers. Through the use of cutting-edge technology, the Public Sector Fraud Authority will use data and AI to help us in the fight against fraudsters.”

Bounce Back Loan Scheme

The Cabinet Office previously worked with Quantexa to reveal instances of potential fraud within the government’s Bounce Back Loan Scheme. This involved analyzing an initial set of 250 networks of people, organisations, and places during which more than 100 million data items were processed.

PSFA CEO Mark Cheeseman said: “We know that fraudsters are a capable and committed adversary and the way they commit fraud is diverse and evolving.  As criminals develop more sophisticated tools, we too must innovate and modernise our approach to prevent fraud.  By bringing together expertise and tools from the public sector and private sector we will raise our ambition and challenge ourselves to increase our impact on this often unseen and underestimated crime.”  

The PSFA was backed by £25 million of funding. It will be the center of the government’s Counter Fraud Function and It has been tasked with modernising the government’s counter fraud response, working with departments and public bodies to improve their fraud defences and using leading practice and modern techniques to protect taxpayer money.  

It has set a first-year target of £180 million of recognised fraud benefits, which it is on course to hit.