Camden Council uses big data to help reduce fraud, save money

Camden Council is using big data to tackle fraud and save cash as its budgets slim

Camden Council is using big data to tackle fraud and save cash as its budgets slim

Camden Council is using a big data platform to create a ‘Residents Index’ to help tackle debt collection, illegal subletting and fraud.

The service, based on IBM’s InfoSphere platform, centrally stores and manages citizen data collected from 16 different systems across London – including data from Electoral Services, Housing and Council Tax Services – to help give a single view of local residents.

Authorised users can access the platform to search relevant data and highlight discrepancies in the information given to the Council by residents to help reduce fraud and save money on over-procurement of public services.

It’s also using the Index to improve the accuracy of its electoral register. Using the platform, it said it was able to fast track the registration of more than 80 per cent of its residents and identify new residents who need to vote.

“Big data is revolutionising the way we work across the borough, reducing crime and saving money just when public services are facing huge funding cuts,” said Camden councillor Theo Blackwell.

“Take School admission fraud; parents complain about people gaming the system by pretending to reside in the borough to get their kids into the most sought-after schools. Now with the Residents Index in place, Council staff can carry out detailed checks and identify previously hidden discrepancies in the information supplied to the Council to prove residency. We have already withdrawn five school places from fraudulent applicants making sure that school places fairly go to those who are entitled to them.”

“The Resident Index has proven its worth, helping the Council to become more efficient, and now contains over one million relevant records. This is just one example and we have other plans to use the benefits of data technology to improve public services and balance the books.”

Early last year Camden Borough laid out its 3 year plan to use more digital services in a bid to save money and improve the services it offers to local residents, which includes using cloud services to save on infrastructure cost and big data platforms to inform decision making at the Council.