Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Questions (327)

Denis Naughten


327. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Social Protection the control savings made in 2013 under each payment scheme; the target set for control savings under each scheme; if she will outline the formula used to calculate the estimated control savings; if the same formula is used under each payment scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24389/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

Over the past number of years, fraud detection and control systems have been refined and enhanced and are subject to continuing review. A range of measures are employed by the Department to ensure that social welfare fraud and abuse is minimised and that its control activity is appropriately focused. Overall, this is resulting in less opportunity to commit fraud and less chance of claims being in payment at an incorrect rate through fraud or error.

Control savings arise as a result of control activity on claims in payment and from inspections of employers. They are not actual moneys recovered by the Department – rather they represent an estimate of the value of prevented future social welfare expenditure on claims that would have been incurred if investigative and control work had not been carried out. Actual monies are recovered when the Department assesses an overpayment in individual cases and subsequently recovers such debt.

Control savings do not include any cases of departmental or clerical error. In addition, they do not include any cases where the customer voluntarily told the Department of a change in their means or circumstances, which resulted in a change to their rate of payment. All of these control savings arise from proactive reviews on claims in payment.

Control savings are calculated by applying validated multipliers to the difference in the rate of payment before and after the control activity. Multipliers used in assessing control savings estimate the total future savings to the Department of a revocation or reduction resulting from a control action. The multiplier used is based on the average amount of time the person who ceases to claim will remain off the Department’s books. This time varies from scheme to scheme.

In general, long-term schemes have a multiplier of 136 weeks (termination cases) and short-term schemes have multipliers ranging from 32 to 52 weeks.

Validation exercises are undertaken to ensure control savings are recorded correctly. These involve an examination of the various control savings reported to ensure that savings are being compiled and calculated in the correct manner.

The overall savings target for 2013 was €710 million and the actual savings achieved was €632m.


2013 Target €m

2013 Achieved €m




Illness (inc DCA)



Pensions (inc HHB)



OFP (inc WOPS)






Child Benefit















This outcome demonstrates that the Department’s more intense control focus in recent years is having a positive impact on the level of fraud and error in the social welfare system.

In addition the new Compliance and Anti-Fraud Strategy 2014 – 2018 which I launched recently builds on the approach and progress made under the Fraud Initiative (2011 – 2013) and provides a strategic direction to tackling fraud and compliance risks in the years ahead.

Question No. 328 answered with Question No. 326.