Fraud in public grant programmes diverts taxpayers’ money away from essential services and reduces benefits for well-meaning recipients. When individual beneficiaries, private providers or government officials defraud grant programmes, they not only undermine the integrity of the programme itself, but they also risk eroding trust in government. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, marked by a high volume of accelerated spending, fraud risks have become a pressing concern for governments worldwide.

In this environment, public control and audit bodies play a vital role to ensure money is well spent and vulnerabilities are spotted and addressed quickly. In Spain, the General Comptroller of the State Administration (Intervención General de la Administración del Estado, IGAE) is at the forefront of the country’s efforts to prevent and detect fraud. Its oversight mandate focuses on high-risk areas where fraud commonly lurks, including the focus of this report, public grantmaking.

Taking a risk-based approach is essential for directing limited resources. To this end, modern control bodies like the IGAE are increasingly reliant on data and analytics as fundamental tools for assessing risks. By leveraging data and analytics for enhancing control and audit processes, the IGAE is better equipped to identify risks and target its resources where they will have the most impact. This report reflects the initiative and commitment of the IGAE to tap into cutting-edge approaches, including state-of-the-art methodologies in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

This document was reviewed by the OECD Working Party of Senior Public Integrity Officials (SPIO) on 01 November 2021and declassified by the Public Governance Committee on 23 November 2021. It was prepared for publication by the OECD Secretariat. The project was co-funded by the European Union via the Structural Reform Support Programme (REFORM/IM2020/006). This publication was produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union.

Metadata, Legal and Rights

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. Extracts from publications may be subject to additional disclaimers, which are set out in the complete version of the publication, available at the link provided.

© OECD 2021

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at