Some explain themselves as just bending the rules or just finding loop holes in the system “Respondents would resist the notion that their activities were fraudulent: Not fiddling, I’m bending; discovered a loophole. Feeling that they had not received that to which they were morally entitled. ” (Dean and Melrose, 1996:12). But this might help to justify their behaviour of committing fraud to themselves but in the eyes of the law this is still a crime, a crime of theft from the tax payer and from people with real needs.
I would recommend that we make the age limit higher for leaving school so that they are better equipped to find work when they leave education. But also to make more provisions to enable those that do leave school without education have more resources at their disposal like apprenticeships, in more practical jobs that are sometimes more suited to some young people that suggest that school is feminised. In doing so we can give less of a reason for people to need benefits if they are in some form of employment or training.
Another way in which we can reduce benefit fraud is to persevere in campaigning using all forms of media advertising, TV, radio and leafleting, warning of the consequences of benefit fraud and trying to re-educate people into changing their opinions on benefit fraud. You could show pensioners that can’t afford to put their heating on, even single mothers struggling to give their children what they need or even families where the parents are working but are still living on the poverty line.
The way in which this would work is to make fraudsters feel shameful of their behaviour by showing them people that really need benefits. Also even though labour has tried to use all the information to its disposal and has made some headway it is important to focus our policies into increasing the sharing of data from government and the private sectors speeding up access which sometimes can be very slow. This will help find and prosecute fraudsters faster.
Another Policy I think that would help reduce benefit fraud, is to simplify the system further as I have researched this topic I found that people were consistently describing how complex the system was and off putting, and in the end found it easier just to skip certain procedures which resulted in fraud but not always on purpose but just by error. I also think that policies should be made that encourage further training for staff in detecting fraud faster and finding ways in which are beneficial to both parties in retrieving moneys.
The reason for this is that allot of the time it is not the actual claimant that suffers from being caught but all the people that depend on him, even though labour have already made rules like the two strikes then out which does deter people; but from the research I have found it was not as successful as you may think as people in allot of the studies stated that deprivation and hardship far outweighed being caught.
Too conclude I have found various reasons for why people commit benefit fraud, one of which is that fraudsters take their justification from news media and politicians exaggerating the fraud by making it look like everyone is doing it, secondly I have found how obligations to the welfare state have eroded giving fraudsters more of a reason to indulge in fraud but how these people resent and feel betrayed by the system on whole.
Also I have shown that age, gender and ethnicity have also considerable differences and that older people, women, and afro Caribbean people have more of an attachment to the welfare state which shows that people with less attachment find it easier to justify their fraud. Then I have shown that economic necessity was the main reason for fraud basic needs could not be reached on benefits so fraud becomes highly persuasive.
And lastly moral issues what I found was that people justified themselves by diverting there conception of morals towards organised crime and towards loopholes and bending rules so diverting their negative feeling to slightly more positive ones in their minds. So finally my recommendation for polices to reduce benefit fraud are to keep young people in education for much longer increasing chances of employment, also policies that include more budget for campaigns to deter fraud and re-educate people, then to introduce policies which help to use data from government and the private sector where speed of transfer is vital to stop fraud.
Another policy that I have recommended is that to make more complex welfare systems simpler so clients do not accidently fraud the system. And finally policies that focus on more ongoing annual training for staff to catch fraudsters and understand techniques they use, and to use their powers so not to punish the whole family for one persons actions. In the future it will be vital if we are to cut benefit fraud for labour to put in the same effort into all their policies and to have annual reports of progress and to identify where they are going wrong and then to address these if benefit fraud is to be resolved.
Bibliography Dean H and Melrose M. (1997) ‘manageable discord. ‘ Social policy and administration. Vol 31,2, 103-118. Dean H and Melrose M. (1996) ‘unravelling citizenship’. Critical social policy. Vol 16,3, 3-31. Department of work and pensions. Reducing fraud in the benefit system (2005), London. J Millar (2003) ‘understanding social security’ Bristol: policy press. H Dean (2002) ‘welfare rights and social policy’ Essex: Pearson education limited. M Hill (2003) ‘Understanding social policy’ Australia: Blackwell publishing.