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 1/4/2019 – 31/3/2020.

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 - information not currently available

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. No fraud officer since April 2019.
  • Housing - Housing Fraud Investigator (1 FTE) – but temporarily vacant since end of January 2020
  • Legal Services - no prosecutions in 2018/19

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

  • Internal Audit - none
  • Benefits - none
  • Housing - 1 (to end January 2020)

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

  • Internal Audit - c. £6k (based upon staff time)
  • Revenues - c. £2.5k (additional review of NFI reports)
  • Housing - c. £44k (staff time, appropriate subscriptions and fees, etc.)

Total number of fraud cases investigated

  • Internal Audit - general review of NFI reports only
  • Housing - 12 properties were brought back into the housing stock through key surrender after the tenant was issued with a Notice To Quit or following abandonment 9 inappropriate applications to the Housing register were prevented 2 inappropriate housing benefit / Council Tax Reduction Scheme claims were stopped some joint investigations (relating to housing benefit / Council Tax Reduction) were also conducted with the DWP

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