UK Government target fraudulent IT companies

UK Government target fraudulent IT companies

The National Fraud Authority (NFA) has estimated that central and local government IT fraud will cost the UK £1.5bn and £855m in 2011. Total fraud losses for 2011 will exceed £21bn, largely due to tax evasion accounting.

Having worked with the Public Sector for the past few years throughout the UK, I’ve come across my fair share of IT projects where clients have been duped in to purchasing expensive contracts, services and licensed products that they would never use and in some case didn’t know even existed. On many occasions we've had to start again to deliver the project as the client intended.

Of course, fraud can happen in any business sector. But with IT there are so many good quality experts in the field, it is somewhat surprising to keep stumbling on horror projects that have gone so wrong with the same names appearing.

It comes as no surprise that the Coalition has launched a new strategy to cut the £2.4bn problem in public sector procurement via ‘The Taskforce on Fraud, Error and Debt’. Set up in late 2010 the taskforce research, detect and share intelligence and even assess the risks of projects before they are authorised. And with zero tolerance on those found to be guilty.

This provides a much better opportunity for companies who are trustworthy, offer a solid service and maybe who have never had the opportunity before to enter the public sector arena with confidence.

This first report of the Taskforce can be found here:
Eliminating Public Sector Fraud: The Cabinet Office Counter Fraud Taskforce Interim Report

Top tips to protect you and your company from IT fraud:

  • Always credit check and reference your suppliers list
    You never know when you might need this information, and can help you decide in who you trust and can deliver on time and on budget.

  • Do your research
    Visit the premises, meet people and interview the team working on your project throughout each phase. You’ll get a feel for the right people to be working on your project with your team. The relationship will be strengthened by this process too.

  • Create the brief
    Many clients don’t write the initial brief due to technical ability. Hire a project manager familiar with the software/technology and services you require. They will be able to spot issues before they happen and understand what you’re being sold at pitch stage. 

    This doesn’t have to be an expensive added extra to the project, you can use this third party for phases of the project. E.g. strategy, design, build and launch.

Ian Hughes is Managing Director of LHM Media. Follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn

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