There are a number of ways to deter potential fraudsters from committing or attempting fraudulent or corrupt acts and these will be reported on each quarter to strategic management team.
- publicise the fact that the council is firmly set against fraud and corruption
- act decisively and robustly when fraud or corruption is suspected or proven take action to maximise recovery of losses to the council
- publicise successful prosecutions and share learning across the council
- have in place sound systems of internal control that are based on risk assessment and minimise the opportunity for fraud or corruption
Fraud drives will be undertaken to verify and proactively identify possible frauds. We will work with organisations such as Department of Work and Pensions and the Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs to undertake joint fraud drives which ensure that a robust approach and larger claim base is verified.
National fraud initiative
The national fraud initiative is a data matching exercise carried out by the Audit Commission every two years, as part of the statutory audit function and in accordance with the Audit Commission Act 1998. All councils are required to provide data from their systems, which are then matched against the records held by other councils to identify fraud. We will fully comply with the requirements of this initiative.
Tools available to combat fraud and error in the benefit system
A number of different acts have come into power which gives powers to investigate fraud and error in a number of ways. Some of the tools are powerful weapons in the fight against fraud and are used where we believe that a fraud is being perpetrated.
- use of a dedicated counter fraud specialist
- access to Royal Mail redirection information
- access to information from other government departments, for example, HMRC
- direct access to benefit data held by the DWP
- enforcing disclosures from landlords/agents
- use of administrative penalties
- additional overpayment recovery powers
- powers that enable authorised officers of the authority to request details from banks, building societies, utilities and other organisations and pay records, that pertain to an individual which will identify income, capital or other details that have not been declared