Laura Sharman 31 March 2020

Council staff warn fraud is a major risk for local government

Two-thirds of local government professionals think fraud is a major risk for councils, a new survey has revealed.

Research published by CIPFA also shows seven out of ten professionals believe poor organisational controls leave local authorities vulnerable to fraudsters.

Nearly half (49%) warned staff are not adequately trained to identify fraudulent activity.

Rob Whiteman, CIPFA CEO said: ‘Fraud, bribery and corruption are constantly evolving threats that undermine financial resilience and put even greater pressure on public services at a time of crisis. The increased strain on resources and governance as a result of COVID-19, and the prevalence of technology-enabled frauds, compound these threats even further.

’We cannot prevent all financial crime. What we can do is put in place measures to ensure that authorities have an awareness of the risks they face in a constantly changing world and are equipped to mitigate these.’

The survey, conducted by Perpetuity Research, found the majority of respondents felt preventative strategies would be the key means of tackling fraud in local government in the future.

Marc McAuley, head of counter fraud operations at CIPFA, says we must learn from past mistakes.

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