Mobile working project targets benefit fraud

DWP puts £4.1m into council project
Written by Steve Ranger, Global News Director

DWP puts £4.1m into council project

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is spending £4.1m in a project which could save £19m by slashing fraud and getting benefits to the needy faster.

The Pericles Mobile Working Project is a browser-based package to help with collecting council tax and non-domestic rates, as well as administering housing and council tax benefits.

By using mobile devices such as tablet PCs, Pericles will allow benefits staff to download centrally held data, such as case details, while away from the office.

The project aims to reduce fraud and overpayments through improved data accuracy. Faster data collection and processing times will mean quicker payments for claimants.

Data captured and updated during visits to claimants can be verified with the claimant and then uploaded to the central system.

Gateshead Council will lead the final phase of the project. This will see council workers capturing images of documents, processing new claims and providing a calculation of payment details via an in-built benefits calculator.

The system is based on Anite's mobility software mSync.net, developed with Microsoft. Anite also developed the business case for the second stage of the project.

A new £3m in funding - on top of the £1.1m for phase one of the project - brings the DWP's total investment to £4.1m.

Gateshead Council head of financial management Keith Purvis said in a statement: "The work we have undertaken with Anite and [the] DWP means that customers accessing our benefits service will receive their entitlements faster, with more flexibility about how, where and when they talk to us. I hope the project's full potential is realised so that it can be rolled out across the country."

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