How Lambeth Council undertakes effective Know Your Citizen (KYC) / ID checks to prevent fraud


Citizens in Lambeth completing Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support claims must have their identification verified to ensure they are who they say they are and are eligible for the services they are applying for. This is critical to prevent fraud and protect scarce council financial resources.

Challenges for Lambeth Council

In the past, Lambeth Council relied on citizens to provide proof of their identity to validate their claims to minimise and prevent fraud.

However, not everyone holds identification. And even for those with identification, some applicants are unable to get to Lambeth’s offices to present it or can’t acquire photocopies of their ID due to lack of support and vulnerability.

Lambeth only provides front of house services for vulnerable users, and as a consequence needed an alternative way to validate identity. Particularly since the pandemic, with many services offered online, users have become used to accessing them digitally.

There were also concerns that the requirement for manual ID checks was significantly lengthening the user journey, when most low and medium risk claims could go to payment straight away.

Lambeth Council worked with Melissa to deliver KYC and prevent fraud

To securely speed up the process of identity verification for those claiming Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support, Lambeth started using Melissa’s automated electronic identity verification (eIDV) service in April 2022.

This full service identity verification offering enables the Council to undertake comprehensive Know Your Citizen (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) checks in real-time. Melissa’s eIDV tool has access to reputable global data streams, such as government agency, credit agency and utility records, to match the name, address, date of birth, email, or phone number in real-time as an online application or sale is completed, ensuring the user experience isn’t negatively impacted.

Using this platform Lambeth can look at the address, the name of the person and their date of birth, and make sure they all match to verify identity.

Melissa’s eIDV service works alongside Lambeth’s risk-based verification tools, which take into account all circumstances stated on the claimant’s application and decide the risk of fraud and error associated with that particular claim. All claims are then ranked either high, medium or low risk.

With approximately 60 per cent of cases categorised as low risk, the processing time for claims has decreased by approximately eight days, improving the customer journey. This allows Lambeth to spend more time on complex claims where more information is needed.

Moving from manual to automated ID checks using Melissa’s eIDV service has brought with it a huge number of benefits. These include real-time, accurate automated identity verification via an easy-to-use platform that works seamlessly with our existing in-house systems. Also, our claimants no longer need to provide ID, simply their contact details and date of birth online. It’s an approach that has speeded up our processes, helping us to deliver a better user experience.

- Mairéad Brophy, Performance Manager, Digital & Data, Residents & Enabling Services at Lambeth Council

Example of eIDV in action

Mr & Mrs Askew claim Housing Benefit & Council Tax Support and live in temporary accommodation with three children. Mr Askew works for Asda and has claimed Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. The claim is medium risk; therefore, Lambeth needs evidence to assess the claim.

Using Melissa’s automated eIDV service, Mr Askew’s name, address and date of birth are all matched and verified in real-time. All other information is verified by Lambeth’s in-house systems, such as CIS and VEP.

This approach means identification is no longer needed in paper format, reducing the burden on the citizen to provide it. There’s also no longer a need for time consuming, costly manual checks.

This results in claims being assessed, claimants such as Mr Askew notified, and payments being received in a timely manner - ensuring a standout service is delivered for users.

Additionally, all KYC, AML and compliance requirements are met using this service.

Now, more than ever, we are very confident in our ability to prevent fraud and protect tight budgets, all at a lower cost compared to when we implemented manual ID checks.

- Mairéad Brophy, Performance Manager, Digital & Data, Residents & Enabling Services at Lambeth Council

Solutions Lambeth Council are Using

Melissa eIDV (Electronic Identity Verification)

Melissa’s eIDV solution is delivered using a layered approach of checks to empower clients with accurate intelligence from national and worldwide sources. The rapid authentication process will ensure the ability to safely onboard new customers with ease, while protecting your organisation from fraudulent activity.

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