Magazine article Public Finance

Scots Free Travel Scheme Open to Fraud and Error, Say Auditors

Magazine article Public Finance

Scots Free Travel Scheme Open to Fraud and Error, Say Auditors

Article excerpt

Scotland's free bus travel scheme for older and disabled people is open to error and fraud because of inadequate planning, according to a public spending watchdog.

In a report published on October 7, Audit Scotland said the national concessionary travel scheme, which replaced 16 separate council-run programmes, was introduced in 2006 without full consideration of objectives and long-term costs. It also found a lack of robust systems to manage and monitor the scheme.

Audit Scotland's findings follow an audit of the development and management of NCT, which cost just over £199m in 2009/10. The report pointed out that the national scheme was widely used, with 80% of over-60s holding a bus pass.

Auditor general Bob Black said: 'National concessionary travel is popular, with take-up by older people at a very high level. But there were weaknesses in how the system was planned and implemented.

'Systems to effectively administer NCT were not in place and this left it more open to error and fraud. …

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