Counter-Fraud for data transparency

S43 of the Local Government Transparency Code 2014, requires local authorities to publish information about their counter fraud work.

The attached figures cover the period 1/4/2015 – 31/3/2016.

Number of occasions powers were used under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud (Power to Require Information) (England) Regulations 2014, or similar powers

  • Internal Audit - not used
  • Revenues - not used
  • Benefits - not used
  • Housing - not used

Total number (absolute and full time equivalent) of employees undertaking investigations and prosecutions of fraud

  • Internal Audit - one employee (approx. 0.1 FTE) may be involved in investigations that could relate to fraud and also reviews potential fraud cases from annual National Fraud Initiative (NFI) reports received
  • Benefits - 1.8 Investigators. 0.3 Manager (2.1 FTE) – until 12/15 only, when staff transferred to the DWP SFIS (1.57 FTE for year)
  • Housing - ad hoc – liaison with Investigations – until 12/15 1 Housing Fraud Investigator – from 1/16 (0.25 FTE for year)
  • Legal Services - no prosecutions in 2015/16

Total number (absolute and full time equivalent) of professionally accredited counter fraud specialists

  • Internal Audit - none
  • Benefits - 2.1 – until 12/15 only, when staff transferred to the DWP SFIS (1.57 FTE for year)
  • Housing - 1 – from 1/16 (0.25 FTE for year)

Total spent by the authority on the investigation and prosecution of fraud

  • Internal Audit - c. £5k (based upon staff time)
  • Revenues - c. £2k (additional review of NFI reports). c. £4k (credit reference agency matching)
  • Benefits c. £95k (staff time and legal costs)
  • Housing c. £11k (proportion of staff time)

Total number of fraud cases investigated

  • Internal Audit / Revenues The Council undertook a review of Council Tax Single Person Discount entitlement in 2015, using credit reference agency data. c.800 leads were reviewed by Revenues staff and 501 accounts subsequently had bills altered – however, these were not classed as formal ‘fraud’ investigations
  • Benefits - 51
  • Housing - 36

It should be noted that information on the Council’s counter-fraud activities is presented to the Audit & Governance Committee in June, covering the previous financial year. A copy of this report is provided on the Data Transparency web page.