William Eichler 12 July 2016

Councils detected £271m in fraud last year

Councils detected £271m in fraud last year image

Local authority fraud defences saved nearly £300m in 2015/16, accountancy body reveals.

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) estimates 77,000 fraud cases worth £271m were detected or prevented by local authorities over the last financial year.

CIPFA’s counter fraud centre concludes from these new figures that councils are recruiting more counter fraud specialists to tackle complex high value offences, such as illegal sub-letting of council houses.

The highest value fraud types this year were housing scams, CIPFA reveals, with 3,842 totaling £148.4m. Council tax fraud was the most common type of fraud with 47,747 cases detected with a total value of £22.4m.

CIPFA also warns of the emerging threat of fraud relating to Right to Buy and procurement. Cases of the former increased from 526 in 2014/15 to 870 in 2015/16 and cases of the latter went from 114 in 2014/15 to 623 in 2015/16.

The average value of each fraud detected in 2015/16 was £1,000 more than last year (£3,500 compared to £2,500) suggesting local authorities are taking a more strategic approach to high-value frauds.

‘Fraudsters beware – local authorities are getting smarter and more effective,’ Rachael Tiffen, head of the CIPFA counter fraud centre, said.

‘This is saving taxpayers’ money and helping to get council houses, disabled parking badges and other vital services to the people who really need them.’

CIPFA warned, however, that at least 10% of authorities do not have a dedicated counter fraud team. They also urged councils to tackle barriers to data sharing.

Participatory budgeting image

Participatory budgeting

Evgeny Barkov explains what participatory budgeting means and how it can reveal what citizens need.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Head of Looked After Children and Vulnerable Young People

Enfield London Borough Council
Up to £89,319
 This is an exciting opportunity to lead all the services that support Enfield’s children in care and care leavers. Enfield (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Enfield London Borough Council

Head of Communities

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
to £61,751 (pay award pending)
We are looking for an innovative and knowledgeable senior professional to join our leadership team with strong experience of working in communities... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Economic Development Officer (Town Centres)

North West Leicestershire District Council
Band F, £29,636 - £32,878 per annum
The Economic Development Officer (Town Centres) post forms part of the Council’s Business Focus team who provide help directly to businesses. Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Educational Psychologist

Camden London Borough Council
£44,131 - £53,34
The ideal candidates will have an excellent understanding of psychological frameworks and their application in... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Economic Development Officer

North West Leicestershire District Council
Band F, £29,636 - £32,878
Are you interested in a challenge and want to help shape the future of North West Leicestershire? Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue