denisismagilov - stock.adobe.com
Outsourcing giant Capita – currently facing possible regulatory investigations over its cyber security affairs after over 90 of its customers, including pension funds and well-known brands such as drinks giant Diageo and retailer M&S had their customer and staff data stolen from its systems in a ransomware attack – has been awarded a £50m contract, alongside PwC, to replace the Action Fraud cyber crime reporting service.
The replacement of Action Fraud comes after the service was heavily criticised over multiple failings. In 2021, a Work and Pensions Committee report on pensions scams and fraud outlined multiple concerns with the body, many of them stemming from a 2019 investigation by The Times which alleged, among other things, staff malpractice and inadequate resourcing at the service, which is overseen by the City of London Police.
Capita will provide contact centre resources and the underlying technology to enable the public to make reports. PwC, meanwhile will provide technology services for the crime and intelligence management underpinning the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), which assesses and analyses the reports currently received by Action Fraud. The new service is scheduled to become operational by the end of June 2024. Action Fraud’s existing services and systems will remain in place until that time.
“The transformation of the current Action Fraud and National Fraud Intelligence Bureau is a much needed and critical component of the National Fraud Strategy,” said City of London Police commissioner Angela McLaren.
“Key to success is having the right supply chain, and, after a rigorous procurement process, I am confident we have secured quality suppliers who will work with us in delivering our aims and objectives.”
“We are delighted to announce the appointment of our new supply chain as this is such an important milestone in the journey to transforming our services and ultimately launching our new fraud and cyber reporting and victim care service to replace Action Fraud,” added the police force’s service delivery director Chris Bell.
“Becoming a victim of fraud and cyber crime can be devastating emotionally as well as financially, so it is vitally important that we have an enhanced service to be able to take reports, provide support to victims and work across law enforcement to go after fraudsters, inform the public on how to protect themselves and take down the infrastructure criminals use to facilitate fraudulent activity.”
Backed by £152m of funding from the Home Office and City of London Corporation over the next five years, the new service will supposedly make it easier for people to report fraud and cyber crime, removing some of the burdens associated with doing so, and making the whole process quicker.
Victims will also in future be able to find out what has happened with their report, including limited details of when their reporting has helped protect others. The police force said it hoped to be able to use the reports to do this by giving more targeted and timely advice.
For law enforcement partners, the new service is also intended to improve the quality of information given to them, and the speed at which they receive it, boosting the chance of successful prosecutions, while institutions and organisations empowered to act to take down fraudulent websites and disrupt cyber crime in general will also benefit from real-time information feeds.
Reports made to the yet-to-be-named service – as well as those made to CIFAS and UK Finance – will continue to be sent to the centralised NFIB office, which will be additionally enhanced with a number of new staffers to manage its casework.
“We are incredibly proud to be chosen to deliver the new fraud reporting service for City of London Police, and are focused on providing an empathetic and seamless service for all potential victims of fraud,” said Capita CEO Jon Lewis.
“This new contract is testament to our proven track record of delivering digitally enabled customer management for citizens – including some of the most vulnerable people in society – and reflects our commitment to delivering an outstanding service to our public sector clients.”
Scott Logan, partner at PwC UK, said: “The recently published National Fraud Strategy was an important step forward in the UK’s fight against cyber crime and fraud. We’re privileged to be delivering the technology solution which will help underpin that fight.
“We look forward to working alongside City of London Police and our technology alliance partner, Palantir, bringing our experience in delivering technology programmes and expertise in managing risks around cyber and economic crime to help deliver this vital service to citizens and businesses.”
Action Fraud’s existing services and systems will remain in place until the replacement service is stood up and fully operational.
Read more about cyber fraud
- When fraud investigators come knocking, there are some important ways in which management and senior IT professionals can make sure their company is best protected.
- UK payments regulator confirms changes to rules around repaying customers who lose money to authorised push payment fraudsters.
- The UK government’s anti-fraud strategy proposes to make it much harder for criminals to target their victims by cracking down on the exploitation of technology.