According to the latest estimate by the NHS Counter Fraud Authority, fraud costs the NHS £1.29 billion a year. This covers a whole range of economic crimes, some but not all relating to the tender process.
Obviously, those committing fraud are a minority, but their consequences are huge.
Types of fraud can include:
- False claims: patients claiming free treatment they are not entitled too, or NHS professionals claiming money for services they’ve not provided.
- Payment diversion fraud: fraudsters trick an NHS organisation to pay money to them, e.g., pretending to be one of your regular suppliers.
- Procurement fraud: bid rigging, when bidders agree between themselves to eliminate competition, denying the organisation a fair price or delivery of poor-quality goods or services.
- Timesheet fraud: staff falsifying timesheets.
It is essential that there is separation of duties within the Trust to protect against fraud and errors. This is usually achieved by dividing the process between two or more people so that no one person is responsible for the entire purchasing process. The three areas of authority to divide are:
- The person with authority over the budget
- Authority to seek quotations/tenders, negotiate and commit
- Authority to accept an invoice and pay.
This is supported by creating a tender process with control points throughout. Examples of often used controlled points by NHS Trusts include:
||Duly authorised representative to approve the specification or raise a requisition.
||Terms of Reference of evaluation panels, the use of consensus and moderating scoring.
||Scheme of reservation to SFI’s three mandates who or which Board are duly authorised to approve/ratify the recommendation to award a contract.
||The requisitioner is responsible for ensuring the goods, services or works received match those orders in all aspects.
||The named Contract Manager is responsible for ensuring the performance of the services to the specified/agreed standards.
||Matching goods received notices with purchase orders and invoices – processing via Trusts’ Procurement 2 Pay process.
Want to know more about how Restore can support the NHS with their crucial fraud prevention role, speak to Daniel our NHS Consultant, who will happily answer any questions.