Threatened auditor saved taxpayer pounds 4m

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The Independent Online
A university admissions fraud detection unit whose pounds 175,000 annual government funding is under threat saved pounds 4m in false student award claims last year.

The verification unit at the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service is held up as a shining example of successful fraud-busting, in an Audit Commission report.

However, a Department for Education and Employment spokeswoman said yesterday that the department was still considering whether to maintain the annual grant.

The unit, employing three staff, uses a computer system to analyse thousands of university application forms. Last year it slashed the fraud detected in student awards to pounds 0.9m, from pounds 4.9m the previous year.