IRIS is a knowledge center and a forum where theory and practice meet. The research on social fraud does not remain a mere academic exercise.


As a knowledge center

IRIS gathers and provides information on social fraud in the broadest sense of the word. This information may be of a regional, national or international interest.

IRIS ...

  • writes reports and conducts studies.
  • participates in national, international and European projects, next to projects of it own.
  • selects and presents relevant news and relevant studies and publications on this website.
  • acts as a support centre for all actors in the field:
    • providing both academic and practical information, and
    • offering support in drawing up proposals and formulating policy options.
  • actively participates in or organises multidisciplinary seminars, conferences, colloquia and breakfast meetings.
  • owns a specialised library and documentation centre.

Some of this information is accessible for members only.

As a forum

IRIS acts as a forum where practice and theory meet and inspire each other.

IRIS ...

    • builds a national and international network between academia and the actors in the field.
    • organises multidisciplinary seminars, conferences, colloquia and breakfast meetings.

At such events, experts from different fields can:

      • come into contact
      • exchange experiences and knowledge
      • stay up to date.


The phenomenon of social fraud

Although the scale and size of social fraud cannot be ascertained exactly, it is a growing social phenomenon with large-scale consequences.

Social fraud:

  • endangers the financing and sustainability of a country's social model, as contributions are not paid or as benefits are paid which are not due.
  • leads to unfair competition, causing social dumping and the deterioration of social rights.

Furthermore, the growing European internal market and world-wide globalisation have increased the awareness that apart from a national problem, social fraud is an international problem as well.

The research on social fraud

By investigating and describing the phenomenon's different forms and its consequences, we gain insight in the way social fraud basically works.

  • Merely having this knowledge often has a preventive effect.
  • This knowledge helps find the appropriate mechanisms to fight social fraud in all its forms.

The academic point of view on social fraud cannot do without the lessons and experience from actual practice.

  • In academic research on social fraud, the science and study of law plays a leading role.
    Insights from criminology, economics, psychology and the political and social sciences are, however, of utmost importance as well.
  • In using the experience from actual practice, contributions and input from the public sector as well as from the private sector are essential

Cooperation and the establishment of a network

Crucial elements in the fight against and the study of social fraud are:

  • a smooth cooperation
  • the exchange of knowledge and data.

This is both on a national and on an international level, and from a multidisciplinary point of view.

The research on social fraud must lead to:

  • knowledge which can be applied and implemented in practice and policy
  • knowledge which should allow to
    • improve the prevention of and the fight against social fraud
    • make the social model more efficient, more just and more effective.

Network members

  • Representatives from the academic world
  • (Social) inspection services
  • Social security and labour law institutions
  • National and European policy makers
  • Other actors and experts involved in the research on and the fight against social fraud

Cooperation agreements

In the light of the above IRIS has concluded cooperation agreements with several inspection services:

  • Social Intelligence and Investigation Service
  • Social Inspection Service (Federal Public Service Social Security) *
  • National Employment Office
  • Social Legislation Inspection Service (Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue)
  • National Social Security Office (NSSO) *
  • National Pensions Office **

(*) On 1 July 2017 the Inspection Service of the NSSO and the Social Inspection Service will be integrated into a single inspection service under the NSSO.

(**) On 1 April 2016 the Public Sector Pensions Service and the National Pensions Office merged into the Federal Pensions Service.