I am pleased to introduce the NHS Counter Fraud Authority Annual Report and Accounts for 2021-2022.
It has been another positive year despite changes on a number of fronts. We have welcomed a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and three new Non-Executive Directors (NEDs). In common with many NHS organisations, the ongoing impact of COVID-19 has challenged our ability to meet our targets. Extensive work was done on examining the implications of the Health and Care Act 2022. We have also had to make preparations for relocating to our new London office and the reconfiguration of our Newcastle office.
Alex Rothwell has settled in well to the role of CEO, bringing significant expertise in our areas of principal activity. He has reached out to the wider NHS community to appreciate their understanding of our organisation. Joining a new organisation as its leader in the unusual circumstances caused by Coronavirus with enforced changes to our working lives cannot have been easy, but Alex has risen to the challenge.
Our three new NEDs have brought fresh and constructive challenge to our discussions, having arrived with considerable experience in the NHS and the wider fraud landscape.
This is timely as there has been considerable discussion in Government about the level of fraud in the economy, not just the NHS, and the steps being taken to counter it. During 2021-2022 we actively participated in the National Fraud Initiative, a programme which attracted praise at ministerial level as an important tool in the fight against economic crime.
We also had significant interaction with Government Ministers on the Health and Care Act. Clearly, we welcomed the proposal to abolish the three-year limit on Establishment Orders for Special Health Authorities. This will allow us to plan for the longer term with more certainty. We also discussed challenges regarding access to data, data sharing and investigatory powers which we would like to see addressed. In addition, we advised on procurement issues, new working arrangements for staff, conflicts of interest and collusion to ensure the Act achieves what it is intended to do.
Internally, we have been preparing to move our London Office as the DHSC contract for Skipton House expired. I appreciate the upheaval this causes for our people and we will do everything we can to mitigate this. We have moved away from having the majority of our IT infrastructure physically located in our London Office to being cloud based. This will increase our business resilience and reduce the office space required, while still maintaining high levels of data security.
It has been a challenging period, but I would like to thank all our people for their considerable efforts and achievements in another exacting year. We continue to provide value for money for the taxpayer and I am confident this will continue, as we develop our Strategy for the next three years.
Tom Taylor FCCA FCPFA FCMI FIoD FHFMA