Agenda item

Corporate Fraud Team Update Report



The Head of Internal Audit, Anti-Fraud and Assurance submitted a report providing an account of the work of the Corporate Anti-Fraud Team for the period 1st April 2022 to 31st August 2022.


The key highlights of the report were noted as:


·         The corporate fraud team now had a full complement of four staff.

·         The team continued to receive alerts from the National Anti-Fraud Network (NAFN), which is noted as a key resource for Local Authorities issuing immediate alerts and intelligence around fraud attempts. The team continued to receive bulletins from NAFN and directed these to the relevant parts of the Council.

·         In regard to the National Fraud Initiative, new data would be forthcoming in January. Previous data matches on single person discount fraud found errors of over £20,000. This is money that is put back into the Council.

·         Reactive fraud work was undertaken on insurance claims and Right to Buy applications. Applicants were aware of anti-fraud checks during the process which had acted as a deterrent. All application forms had a fair processing notice, making reference to data matching checks being undertaken.

·         Preventative fraud work was also a key area of work. National themes such as the Cost-of-Living crisis meant economic difficulties may force people to take dishonest action, which could trigger an increase in public sector incidents such as seen in other Local Authorities. Cybercrime was another threat that remained prevalent and serious.


In the ensuing discussion, particular reference was made to the following points:


·         The Council had continued to work with the banking system to utilise payment safety checks to avoid fraud via electronic payments. Historically, this had not been the way the Council had operated with banks, and this had been a key piece of learning.

·         Self-Assessment (fraud vulnerability) documents for individual Business Units were not designed to go into immense detail on every fraud scenario, rather raise awareness with managers of where they were vulnerable to risk, such as procurement and payment to vendors. The self-assessment also aimed to raise awareness around contract management, good supervision and recruitment and HR fraud. There was particular concern as an example about a recent trend in recruitment fraud from the falsification of qualification certificates obtained from people posting them of LinkedIn. The process had reaffirmed managers were acutely aware of fraud risk, but this exercise had sharpened practice and would be an increased focus in the annual governance review process.

·         Fraud surrounding Covid business support grants and the furlough scheme was a national issue. Data matching in reference to this was submitted to the NFI, however feedback would not be provided by borough as this was a nationwide investigation rather than a local one.




(i)            That the Audit Committee noted the progress report covering the period 1st April to 31st August 2022;


(ii)          That the Audit Committee continues to receive regular progress reports on internal and external fraud investigated by the Corporate Anti-Fraud Team;


(iii)         That Members be provided with the outcome of Covid Grants Investigations at a national level when available; and


(iv)         That Members be provided with Fraud Risk Vulnerability Self- Assessment document once finalised for information.


Supporting documents: