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Information relating to Social Security Scotland's Fraud and Error Resolution expenditure for October, November and December 2023: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

FOI Reference: FOI/202400392401
Date received: 9 January 2024
Date responded: 1 February 2024

Information Requested

“In a previous response (reference: 202300384042) you provided me with, what you called, a “report with an extract of the spends for Fraud and Error Resolution for January and February 2019”.

Based on the fact you were able to provide me with this, I am now requesting the following information:

1. A copy of all spends for Fraud and Error Resolution for the months October 2023, November 2023 and December 2023.

Please provide the information in the exact same format you gave in the previous FOI response.”


Please find attached to this email all Fraud and Error Resolution expenditure for October, November and December 2023.

Fraud and Error Resolution includes identification, assessment, mitigation and correction of both insider and benefit fraud, official and client induced error, recharge to estates, debt recovery and payment resolution.

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. name, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

An additional exemption under section 30(c) of FOISA (prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs) applies to a small amount of the information requested. Disclosing this information would substantially prejudice our ability to prevent and detect fraud.

The risk of fraud against Social Security Scotland has been identified through commissioned threat assessments combined with the experience of similar organisations. Addressing this risk requires a multi layered approach using prevention, detection and investigation principles, with prevention as the first line of defence. Part of the prevention approach is to restrict the information made available that would be indicative of capacity, capability, tactics and resources. After careful consideration and assessment we have concluded that release of this data would prejudice the ability to carry out covert intelligence were it to be available in the public domain. The risk of compromise relates to both the ability to obtain and maintain evidence securely and the risk to members of staff involved. This would constitute substantial prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs in terms of the exemption.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government. However, there is a greater public interest and expectation in protecting public funds by detecting, investigating and preventing fraud.

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