The activities laid out in this business plan build upon the results the NHSCFA has achieved so far, working together with our colleagues in the wider NHS counter fraud community, in the fight against fraud. Highlights of our achievements over the past year, grouped according to the four objectives in our 2020-2023 strategy, are provided below.
Lead and influence
- We published our annual SIA in a digital format for the first time, making it easier for our stakeholders and the wider public to find our latest assessment of the NHS’s vulnerability to fraud, both overall and in 13 key thematic areas.
- We increased the volume and quality of intelligence shared with the NHS counter fraud community (e.g. through our quarterly threat assessments).
- We continued to provide intelligence and guidance to the NHS on COVID-19 related fraud and supported it in tackling COVID-19 passport fraud.
- We continued to deliver monthly webinars for the NHS counter fraud community, covering a range of counter fraud topics and enabling a two-way conversation on progress against our strategic objectives and planning for the future. These sessions have been increasingly popular with senior leaders within the community.
- We developed a new Fraud Risk Knowledge Hub for the community, providing national risk assessments on a range of fraud types, while continuing to build LCFSs’ capabilities on fraud risk assessment and local proactive exercises through a series of dedicated workshops.
- We launched a new monthly e-newsletter, with bespoke editions for Local Counter Fraud Specialists and for senior leaders, now featuring articles from the community highlighting successes in the fight against fraud.
- We took forward the development of the Counter Fraud Champion role and achieved our 95% coverage target among NHS providers.
- We continued to work closely with the Cabinet Office to develop and implement the Government Counter Fraud Functional standard across the sector as we prepare for the first formal return by NHS organisations at the end of 2021-22.
- We increased engagement with our counterparts in the devolved nations and started planning for a four-nation summit in 2022-23 to share experiences and explore opportunities to further work together to tackle fraud against the NHS.
- One of our colleagues from the wider counter fraud community colleagues joined the organisation on a secondment working across a number of cross cutting corporate projects.
- We re-engineered our onboarding process for members of the community, in readiness for the development of a customer relationship management system.
- In November 2021 we delivered our most successful ever campaign for International Fraud Awareness Week, which was publicly supported by over 120 health bodies.
Reduce fraud loss
- Our national exercises on COVID-19 procurement post-event assurance and Purchase order vs non-purchase order spend saw a return rate of over 90% and enabled us to identify a significant reduction in fraud vulnerability from the implementation of fraud prevention guidance.
- We achieved a number of successful criminal justice outcomes as court activity resumed following the disruption brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Three NHSCFA led investigations into complex/high-value cases of NHS fraud resulted in the sentencing of those responsible, and we continued to pursue recovery of funds lost to the NHS.
- Two of our investigations featured in Season 4 of the BBC One documentary ‘Fraud Squad’, alongside cases investigated by NHS England & Improvement and NHS Counter Fraud Service Wales. These programmes attract millions of viewers and will have advanced the awareness and prevention causes considerably, thus contributing to reducing the financial impact of NHS fraud.
- We carried out our latest Fraud Prevention Guidance Impact Assessment, relating to the period 2020-2021, which will further improve our understanding of financial benefit and provide vital feedback to inform our fraud prevention efforts in future.
Support and empower our people
- We introduced a colleague recognition scheme.
- We continued to invest in the skills of our people through training, leadership development and talent management programmes.
- We continued to support our people in working remotely as the COVID-19 pandemic evolved and have put arrangements in place to support a safe return to the office as restrictions eased. This was managed in the context of our longer-term programme to adopt Smarter Working principles across our activities.
Effective use of our resources
- We completed the rollout of Clue, the new NHS fraud case management system – this enables not just improved management of investigations but also the recording of proactive counter fraud work and its outcomes as well as the reporting of system weaknesses.
- We continued to expand Ngage, the digital collaboration platform for the community, as well as the operational guidance and resources in the Digital Fraud Manual.
- We conducted a series of reviews of our functions as part of a programme of organisational evolution to ensure the NHSCFA remains fit for the future.
- We transformed our planning and performance measurement model and made significant progress on developing a corporate dashboard.
- We managed significant change in our estate, including sourcing new premises for our London office, and migrated a significant part of our IT infrastructure to the cloud.