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 1/4/2016 – 31/3/2017.

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 - investigations staff were transferred to the DWP SFIS in December 2015 One employee (0.65 FTE) is now engaged in a fraud liaison role
  • Housing - Housing Fraud Investigator (1 FTE)
  • Legal Services - no prosecutions in 2016/17

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

  • Internal Audit - none
  • Benefits - none
  • Housing -  1

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)
  • Housing - c. £42k (staff time, appropriate subscriptions and fees, etc.)

Total number of fraud cases investigated

  • Internal Audit / Revenues The Council undertook a review of Council Tax Single Person Discount entitlement in 2016, using credit reference agency data. c.300 leads were reviewed by Revenues staff and 177 accounts subsequently had bills altered – however, these were not classed as formal ‘fraud’ investigations
  • Housing 9 properties brought back into the housing stock through key surrender after the tenant was issued with a Notice To Quit. 3 inappropriate Right To Buy applications refused. 3 inappropriate applications to the Housing register prevented.

It should be noted that more detailed 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.