This article examines the government S strategy for dealing withsocial security fraud. The Social Security (Administration) Fraud Act I997has been enacted to facilitate the detection, prosecution and punishmentof benefit fraud. In addition, the government has published a Green Paperon fruud and, more recently, a Command Paper on ‘Safeguarding SocialSecurity ’, both of which emphasize the importance of preventing fraud andre-educating the public about its nature and severio. Both papers, howevel;fail to deal adequately with the motivations to commit fraud and how this mayimpact on public attitudes to fraud. This article examines public reactionto benefit fraud, and points out that the public have differentiated fraud onthe basis of ‘greed’ or ‘need’. I suggest that, i f the government S anti-fraudstrategy is to be effective, the link between justijiable motivation and publicopinion needs to be taken into account.
Bibliographical noteReference text: Barker, C., Watchman. P. and Rowan-Robertson, J. (1990) ‘Social security
abuse‘, Social Policy and Administration 24(2 j: 1 0 4 1 19.
Benefit Fraud Inspectorate (1998) Securing rhe System, London: The
Cmnd 3805 ( 1998) New Ambitions for Our Count? - A New Contract for
Welfare, London: The Stationery Office.
Cmnd 301 2 1998) Beating Fraud is Everyone’s Business: Securing the
Future. London: The Stationery Office.
Cmnd 4276 ( 1999) Safeguarding Social Securiw, London: The Stationery
Cook, D. ( 1985 j Rich fun), Poor Law, Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
Cook. D. (1997) Poveq, Crime and Punishment, London: Child Poverty
Dean, H. and Taylor-Gooby, P. (1992) Dependency Culture: The Explosion of
a Myth, London: Harvester Wheatsheaf.
Department of Social Security (1998) Code of Pracrice for Data Matching.
London: The Stationery Office.
Field, F. ( 1996) Srakeholder Welfare, London: Institute of Economic Affairs.
Lacey, N. (1995) ‘Contingency and criminalisation’, in I. Loveland (ed.),
Fronriers of Criminality, pp. 1-27. London: Sweet & Maxwell.
McKeever, G. ( 1999) ‘Detecting. prosecuting and punislung benefit fraud:
The Social Security Administration (Fraud) Act 1997’, Modern Law Review
Raz, J. (1979) The Author@ of Law, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Rowlingson. K.. Whyley, C., Newburn, T. and Berthoud, R. (eds) (1997)
Social Security Fraud: The Role of Penalties, DSS Research Report No. 64,
London: The Stationery Office.
Sainsbury, R. (1996) ‘Rooting out fraud - innocent until proven fraudulent’,
Poveny, Spring, pp. 17-20.
Shaw, A.. Walker, R., Ashworth, K., Jenkins, S. and Middleton, S. (eds) (1 996) Moving off Income Support: Barriers and Bridges, DSS Research
Report No. 53, London: HMSO.
Smith, R. (1985) ‘Who’s fiddling? Fraud and abuse’, in S. Ward (ed.), DHSS
in Crisis, pp. 112-27, London: Child Poverty Action Group.
Social Security Advisory Committee (1995) Tenth Reporf, London: HMSO.
Social Security Committee ( 1994-95) Third Report: Review of Expenditure
on Social Security, HC 132, London: HMSO.
Social Security Committee (1 998) Fourth Report: DisabiZiry Living
Allowance, HC 641, London: The Stationery Office.
Twining, W. and Miers, D. (1999) How to do Things with Rules, London:
Uglow, S. (1984) ‘Defrauding the public purse: Prosecuting in social security,
revenue and excise cases’, Criminal Law Review 128-41.
Vincent, J., Leeming, A., Peaker, A. and Walker, R. (eds) (1995) Choosing
Advice on Benefits, DSS Research Report No. 35, London: HMSO.
- public attitudes
- social security fraud