The government has awarded a one-year, £ 360,000 contract to Quantexa, a provider of network analysis software, to tackle fraud in the Covid-19 loan scheme.
During the pandemic, fraudsters abused the government’s loan program, and this contract appears to be part of a response to such criminal activity.
The Cabinet Office published the contract award between its anti-fraud function and Quantexa in September to enable officials to identify fraudsters. The vendor’s technology, called Contextual Decision Intelligence (CDI), would allow customers to “create a connected view of [their] data to reveal the relationships between people, places and organizations ”.
This entity identification is “linked to networks, indexed and scored using analytical models for waste and fraud abuse,” according to the disclosure of the award contract.
The price was disclosed shortly after the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) announced it had earmarked up to £ 2bn in potential spending on big data storage and analytics projects, by government departments , over a period of four years, from 2022 to 2026.
The Cabinet Office, which declared the Quantexa contract, took control of the government’s data policy in July 2020, in return for the Directorate of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS). This contract can plausibly be seen as an expression of its centralized government-wide data analysis program.
Quantexa said in a statement that its “advanced CDI software provides cutting-edge system-level network analysis, which will help government efforts to identify companies and individuals suspected of fraud. This would be impossible or impractical for the manual processes to be carried out. With CDI, data becomes more accessible and datasets from many sources come together to reveal illicit behavior in the real world, thus enhancing the ability to detect and deter future fraud.
The software is used by HSBC and Standard Chartered in their anti-fraud services. The Croydon-based supplier was incorporated in 2016.
Vishal Marria, CEO of Quantexa, said: “The Covid loan programs were designed to help the nation at a time of deep economic need… Contextual decision intelligence is invaluable when organizations need to dig deeper for better information and knowledge, identify hidden risks and opportunities. , and make better decisions.
The contract covers software and services accessible to 10 Cabinet Office users.
The software can be used for proof of concept unrelated to grants and procurement fraud, but its use is not a “fully production-based system,” according to the G-Cloud contract.
In October 2020, the National Audit Office (NAO) released an investigation into the government’s Bounce Back loan program. In the report, the NAO said: “The Cabinet Office government’s anti-fraud function estimates that losses due to fraud are likely to be significantly higher than general estimates of public sector fraud levels of 0, 5% to 5%. “