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Celebrating Apprentices in counter-fraud

Cabinet Office Minister, Baroness Neville-Rolfe shares her experiences of working with apprentices at the Public Sector Fraud Authority.

National Apprenticeship Week 2024 is a fantastic opportunity to shine a spotlight on the vital contributions apprentices now make in the public sector. 

Apprenticeships, funded by this government, are supporting businesses to invest in high quality training and develop the skilled workforce we need for a more productive future. We  foster apprenticeships across a wide range of industries, creating exciting new opportunities. They provide flexible ways to learn that meet the needs of the apprentices, both young and mature, and our employers who are crying out for specialist skills.

This year I am particularly excited to be able to celebrate the achievements of  those undertaking the Counter Fraud Investigators Apprenticeship (CFIA), a trailblazing programme, developed by the Government Counter Fraud Profession in collaboration with HMRC.

During my meeting with a group of CFIA participants earlier this week, I heard about a  number of groundbreaking investigations led by Brent Council, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and The Education and Skills Funding Agency (EFSA). 

The breadth of work undertaken by this group of apprentices is astounding. For example  DWP combats DNA fraud in Child Maintenance cases where fraudsters have been known to use other people’s DNA, or test children who are not their own, to avoid maintenance payments.

Brent Council is tackling tenancy fraud through the National Fraud Initiative (NFI). Housed within the Public Sector Fraud Authority, it specialises in data matching to help detect and prevent fraud, for example where tenants have another property or generous balances in their private bank accounts but claiming to be destitute. It was excellent to hear how Dhruvisha, a counter fraud investigator at Brent Council, has been working with the NFI on this and has been nominated as Apprentice of the year at the upcoming Public Sector Counter Fraud Awards 2024. 

The CFIA includes participants from across sectors and regions,bringing a diversity of perspective to  the challenges we  encounter in public sector fraud. Training is conducted  by both public and private sector providers, ensuring that apprentices are imbued with  cutting edge knowledge and digital skills.

I was struck by how the group had gained knowledge, skills and confidence to thrive as counter fraud professionals. The CFIA is not easy and it takes at least 2 years demanding rigorous competency and dedication. It is however a testament to the transformative power of some of our apprenticeship programmes.


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