Job centres to scrap lie detector tests for benefit claimants

Lie detector technology to identify false benefits claims will no longer be used at job centre branches, after a Nottingham office pilot reported just 37% of those initially identified as lying actually were.

The telephone-based voice risk analysis (VRA) technology claims to be able to detect voice stress levels and use this information to identify liars. Personnel Today reported last year that HR chiefs were considering using the technology to deter workers from ‘pulling sickies’.

However, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has no further plans to test the credibility of individuals who call up a branch of the Jobcentre using VRA in its current format to claim benefits.

A spokesman at the DWP said: “Currently, VRA is not being tested in Jobcentre Plus, but Jobcentre Plus remains interested in the ongoing local authority trials. The DWP will consider the emerging findings from these before deciding on further trials or any extension of the use of the technology.”

Local authorities are continuing to pilot the equipment, with councils such as Harrow, Birmingham and Wealden taking part. Birmingham managed to reduce benefits on 40% of identified ‘high risk’ cases, while Wealden acted on just 12%.

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