Not both together you understand, that would be something tangibly real to be concerned about. No, it's higher than them both....separately.
So what's their solution to this non-problem? Instant fines. I don't recall any talk of DWP decision makers being punished over wrongly instated sanctions. So how bad of a non-problem is it? The figures:
Not one to trust a press release initiated by either Miller, Grayling, Duncan-Smith or Freud any more. I went to actually look at the report and behold in Table A for Estimated Overpayments in 2010/11 we see what really matters: the percentages of total expenditure curiously missing from the Freud/DWP press release.
£1.3 billion has been lost to customer error
£1.2 billion has been lost to fraud
£0.9 billion has been lost to official error
So the solution to the non-problem is being pursued on the basis of what amounts to a 0.2% difference. So no wonder they're focusing instead on the flat numbers rather than percentage; they can claim it has risen unacceptably.
Fraud: £1.2 billion, 0.8% of expenditure.
Customer Error: £1.3 billion, 0.8% of expenditure.
Official Error: £0.9 billion, 0.6% of expenditure.
At least if the reports for 2008 and 2009 where on pages 8 and 9 respectively we can see the tables for those years.
Our survey says:
Fraud: £1 billion, 0.8% of expenditure.
Customer Error: £1.1 billion, 0.8% of expenditure.
Official Error: £0.8 billion, 0.6% of expenditure.
2009The highlighted percentages haven't changed. What has changed? There are more benefit claimants. EDIT: or the slight difference in the totals is because of chance; the report says the figures are not 'statistically significant. That's why the numbers went up but the percentages didn't; customer error is no more of a problem now than it was before. Although the figures are roughly rounded it does seem that official error did actually rise the most, just not enough to change the percentage.
Fraud: £1.1 billion, 0.8% of expenditure.
Customer Error: £1.2 billion, 0.8% of expenditure.
Official Error: £1 billion, 0.6% of expenditure.
Just for fun: guess which are the only two benefits where the official error is higher than either customer error or fraud for the last three years?
Incapacity Benefit and Disability Living Allowance. In fact, official error for IB in 2010 was almost four times higher than the fraud prevalence for it: £20 million (0.3%) fraud compared with £70 million (1.2%) in official error. In fact for most of the time the official error is higher than the customer error in nearly all of the benefits in the table; it's only a few complicated ones that pushes the total for all above the total official error cost.