The Telegraph reports that Capita has been contracted by Southwark Council in south London to use lie detector technology to check claimants in receipt of a 25% discount on their council tax. A spokesperson for Southwark Council explained that callers are not necessarily told that voice risk assessment technology (VRA) is being used but that they are informed their call is being recorded and monitored for fraud purposes.

Councillor Richard Livingstone, cabinet member for finance and resources defended the council's actions and told the Telegraph “The council has used voice risk analysis technology to help validate claims for the single person discount for council tax and to target fraud as part of our current review. We are taking a tough stance against fraud. Any resident found making a false claim will be fully investigated and the necessary action taken.”

The decision to use VRA has been taken in spite of evidence that raises questions about the reliability of such technology. The Telegraph reports how the government abandoned lie detector tests after trials at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) found that the tests proved to be “unreliable”. A spokesperson for Harrow Council where a similar scheme was piloted for housing and council tax benefit claims told the Telegraph “We did try this technology but stopped using it three years ago”.
Capita, who prefer to describe the lie detector test as “behavioural analysis by trained operators” told the Telegraph “The selective use of VRA technology for the purposes of verifying high- risk applications for council tax single person discount is a useful additional tool in the validation process of identifying fraudulent claims. The technology is not used in isolation.”

Southwark Council refused to confirm the cost of using such technology.

The Telegraph report can be found here


Write comments...
or post as a guest
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.

Be the first to comment.

We use cookies

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.