Fraud and corruption
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This page is about our Fraud and Financial InvestigationsTeam, how to report suspected fraud and our Counter Fraud, Corruption and Bribery Statement.
Fraud is a serious matter that affects both the council and the local area. We are committed to ensuring that fraud and corruption is reduced and the risk is minimised by operating a zero-tolerance culture of fraud corruption.
If you suspect someone of committing any of the types of fraud described below you should make an immediate note of your concerns and report them using one of the following methods:
- Fraud Hotline on 01737 276620
- Email: [email protected]
Defining fraud and corruption
Put simply, fraud may be defined as the use of deception with the intention of obtaining an advantage, making a gain, avoiding an obligation or causing loss to another party. Similarly, corruption could be simply defined as offering, giving or accepting an inducement or reward which would influence the actions taken, in this case, by the council and its Officers. Generally, the term “fraud and corruption” is used to describe such acts as:
- false representation
- concealment of material facts
Who can commit fraud?
Fraud can involve anyone that is employed by or on behalf of an organisation or anyone or group that has a relationship with the organisation either as a supplier, contractor, customer, or service end user. This means that fraud could be committed by any one of the thousands of people that the council deals with on a daily basis.
Fraud affects our community
Fraud can have a direct impact on the level of council tax, the level of resources available to share amongst our community and local services such as housing, social care and education.
Types of fraud we investigate
Our Fraud and Financial Investigations Team are committed to the prevention, detection and investigation of various types of fraud and corruption.
This can include acts such as:
- housing or tenancy fraud
- council tax reduction fraud
- council tax discount & exemption fraud
- business rates fraud
- housing and homelessness application fraud
- insurance and compensation fraud
- offences committed by staff members and contractors.
What is the Council doing about Fraud?
The Council has a responsibility to protect public funds and ensure that any allegations of fraud and/or corruption are fully investigated.
For that reason the Council has a dedicated team made up of qualified and accredited investigation specialists. The team’s duties include:
- Preventing and reducing the risk of fraud
- Detecting and investigating allegations of fraud
- Taking legal action against those committing the fraud
The Council is committed to ensuring that fraud is prevented, detected, and investigated fully, and that the appropriate action is taken. We will investigate any reported fraud and if we have sufficient evidence and we will take legal action where appropriate.
What happens when I report my concerns?
Any information or referral of suspected fraud is dealt with confidentially by the Council’s Fraud and Financial Investigations Team. An investigator will normally carry out an investigation and will gather all of the relevant information and evidence before approaching the person concerned.
The team works closely with officers from other agencies including the Police, the Department for Work and Pensions, Immigration and housing providers. In certain situations, the person who is alleged to have committed fraud may be invited to attend a formal Interview under Caution (IUC).
What action can the Council take?
There are various options available to the Council if the decision is made that an offence has been committed, and there is enough evidence to instigate criminal proceedings. These options are as follows:
- warning letter
- formal caution
- administrative penalty
- civil penalties
- confiscation of assets.
Please be aware that not all options are available on each case.