I think that, to achieve a more accurate estimate of benefits fraud, sampling and testing ought to become standard practice across all sectors so the true cost can be more accurately reported. Surely, if the true costs were better understood, there might be more efforts made to improve the system.The DWP said recently they were putting hit squads into some areas where they considered fraud might be more frequent. But I don't know how deep this effort will go, or if the results will be published. (If you do know, tell me - see heading.)
Does the government really want to know how much benefit fraud is truly costing? I've suggested that the annual cash cost is closer to £6bn than £1bn. That's before taking account of the free prescriptions, free eye tests and free dental treatment benefit thieves can get, costing the NHS millions of pounds per year.
Voters take a dim view of benefit fraud anyway. If they had a truer figure, government would come under political pressure to beef up its fraud effort, which would not only cost money in itself but could bring serious pressure on the lower courts.
That's why governments of all parties have opted for a quiet life.