Housing fraud costs councils £16m each year


People who claim to live alone in order to get a council tax discount cost the local government sector nearly £16m a year, a new study has found.

Review launched into Blue Badge fraud


A new task force to help councils tackle the fraudulent use of Blue Badges has been set up by the Government.

Town clerk jailed for defrauding council


An assistant town clerk has been jailed for four years for stealing more than £200,000 from Rugeley Town Council.

Welsh public sector could lose up to £1bn a year to fraud


Welsh public services could lose up to £1bn a year to fraud, a new report has warned today.

Councils warn of new wave in council tax scams


Criminals are posing as council staff to con people out of money, the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned.

Investigators warn councils of ‘chameleon fraudsters’


Investigators have warned councils to be wary of fraudsters as report reveals one in eight disqualified company directors avoid detection and still have active directorships.

Figures show no evidence of 'large-scale electoral fraud'


Campaigners have warned the case for voter ID is getting ‘weaker by the day’ after new figures show there were only eight allegations of personation fraud last year.

How technology could help detect social care fraud


Julian Pilling explains how councils can better protect themselves against fraud committed by carers.

Superhead ordered to repay council over £1m stolen from his school


A superhead has been ordered to pay back Brent Council £1.4m he received in illegal bonuses while he was head of a school in Wembley.

Rochdale council worker jailed for £80,000 fraud


A council worker has been jailed for defrauding Rochdale Borough Council of £80,000 - money that was then spent on prostitutes and cocaine.

Council worker jailed for £1m pension fund theft


A man who defrauded the pension fund of Westminster City Council of over £1m has been jailed for seven years.

Benefit assessors convicted of £1m housing benefit fraud


Seven benefit assessors in London have been convicted of a housing benefit fraud worth over £1m.

Newham to improve financial management after £9m fraud allegations


The Mayor of Newham has announced plans to set up a commission to advise the council on how to ‘become a beacon of good practice’ in its financial management.

Council chiefs warn of scams targeting the vulnerable


Local authority leaders have called on carers and families to be aware of fraud targeting older and more vulnerable people.

Council calls ‘extraordinary meeting’ over £9m fraud allegations


Newham Council has called an ‘extraordinary meeting’ to look into allegations of fraud concerning the local authority’s repairs and maintenance service (RMS).

Top 100: Our most popular local government stories of 2018


From council pay rises to troubled outsourcing firms, here is our countdown of the 100 most popular stories on LocalGov during 2018.

Blue Badge theft up by 45% in past year


Councils have warned that Blue Badge theft in England has increased by 45% in the past 12 months.

Council employee convicted of £1m pension fund fraud


A former Westminster City Council employee has been convicted for defrauding the council pension fund of nearly £1m.

Councils found more than £300m in fraud in past year


Local authorities managed to prevent or detect £302m in fraud in 2017/18, according to the latest figures from finance experts.

Councils cheated out of £1m by housing benefit assessors


Lambeth, Kingston, and Barking and Dagenham councils were cheated out of £1m by a group of housing benefit assessors who used dummy claimants, court has heard.

Has outsourcing had its day?


The conviction for fraud of a former Barnet council employee was a poor advertisement for outsourcing. Mark Whitehead considers whether it has run its course.

Review finds 'insufficient financial controls' enabled £2m council fraud


The conviction for fraud of a former employee of a joint venture set up by Barnet council is a 'textbook example of why outsourcing fails', according to Labour.

Not enough evidence to prosecute in Tower Hamlets fraud case, Met says


An investigation into allegations of fraud in Tower Hamlets has concluded that there is not enough evidence to prosecute those involved, although evidence of a ‘serious criminal offence’ has been uncovered.

Councils and the rise of covert profiles


Mark Whitehead explains why councils are right to use fake Facebook profiles to track down illegal activities.

Council worker charged with Grenfell Tower fraud


A council worker has been accused of stealing money intended for those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.

Postal voting pilots ‘well-run’, electoral commission says


Pilot schemes for postal and proxy voters carried out during last May’s local elections were ‘well-run’, an electoral body has concluded.

Five people sentenced for £200k council fraud


Five men who defrauded a Leicestershire council out of more than £200,000 through an email scam have been sentenced.

Councils sue Barclays over controversial LOBO loans


Barclays are being sued by 14 local authorities over allegations it committed fraud over loans to councils.

Voter ID in perspective


Jo Miller, in her role as a returning officer, argues that Voter ID is a very expensive way to tackle a problem that is not a top priority in the UK.

Mandatory ID ‘disenfranchises’ voters, electoral watchdog says


Electoral watchdogs have rejected a claim that a recent trial requiring voters to show ID was 'a great success'.

Whitehall defends voter ID reform against accusations of ‘discrimination’


The Government has defended its plans to require voters to produce ID when voting after watchdog warned reform may discriminate against ethnic minorities.

Council employee exploited systems ‘failures’ to steal £1m


Failures in ‘fundamental controls’ within Dundee City Council’s financial systems allowed a former employee to steal £1m from the authority, auditors conclude.

Cuts to trading standards putting older people at risk of fraud, warns charity


Cuts to trading standards services are leaving millions of older people at risk of fraud, according to Age UK.

Dismissed council employee pleads guilty to fraud


A former civil enforcement supervisor at Reading council has been issued a 17-week suspended jail sentence after admitting to fraud.

Voter ID trials are ‘unnecessary and over-bearing’ say campaigners


The Government has been urged to reconsider its ID voting trials by campaigners due to the ‘tiny’ amount of electoral fraud.

Seven council staff arrested in fraud probe


Seven members of staff at Cardiff Council have been arrested on suspicion of fraud, the council has confirmed.

The extent of business rates relief fraud


It is estimated that there could be over £25m worth of fraud being perpetuated by businesses falsely claiming Small Business Rates Relief across England.

Fraudster jailed over £45k council tax scam


A man who used forged university documentation to scam eight local authorities out of £45,000 in council tax has been jailed for 18 months.

Fraudster jailed for stealing identity to get council job


A fraudster who used another man’s identity to gain a council job and home as well as thousands in benefits has been jailed, a London council has reported.

Counter-fraud pilot successful


Councils are encouraged to sign up to a joint counter-fraud initiative with Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) investigators after a ‘successful pilot stage’.

Eight out of ten people think elections are well run


Eight out of ten people believe elections are well run and free from fraud, according to research by the Electoral Commission.

Liverpool chief exec suspended over fraud allegations


Liverpool CC’s chief exec Ged Fitzgerald has been suspended while police investigate alleged financial irregularities during his time at Lancashire council.

Council leader cleared of ‘spurious’ corruption allegations


A police investigation into allegations of corruption against the leader of North Lanarkshire Council has been dropped.

Police to guard all polling stations in Tower Hamlets to tackle voter intimidation


Police will be present at every polling station in Tower hamlets in a bid to tackle electoral fraud and voter intimidation.

Liverpool council chief arrested over alleged financial irregularities probe


Four men including Liverpool City Council chief executive Ged Fitzgerald have been arrested as part of an investigation into alleged financial irregularities in the tendering of council contracts to BT.

Report shows rise in fraud related to voting offences


There were 260 reported cases of electoral fraud last year, according to a new report from the Electoral Commission.

'Major failures' found in Tower Hamlets fraud investigation


Members of the London Assembly have accused the police of ‘major failings’ in their investigation of electoral fraud in Tower Hamlets.

Fraudulant bus director order to pay nearly £43k to council


A former bus firm managing director has been ordered to repay £42,894 to a Welsh council for making false claims about concessionary fare passenger numbers.

Erroneous pension payments


Karen Pritchard explains why deceased pension fraud is costing local government millions of pounds every year.

Sandwell council refers fraud allegations against councillors to police


A West Midlands council has referred allegations of ‘potential collusion and fraudulent practice’ by two councillors to the police

Recovery of fraudulent benefit claims hits ‘record high’


Recovery of benefits claimed fraudulently or paid out by mistake has hit a record high of £1bn, according to the Department for Work and Pensions.

Fighting welfare fraud in real time


William Eichler finds out how the government's National Fraud Initiative is helping to stamp out and prevent fraud in local government.

Ex-council worker jailed for £1m fraud


An ex-council employee has been jailed for seven and a half years after being found guilty of charging Lancashire County Council £1m in bogus building works.

Anti-fraud initiative saves taxpayer £200m


Whitehall efforts to crack done on fraudulent practices have saved the taxpayer nearly £200m over the past two years.

Tower Hamlets charity victim of ‘gross mismanagement’ and fraud


A Tower Hamlets charity was the victim of ‘gross mismanagement' and fraud, according to a report published today by the Charity Commission.

Council launches fraud investigation into 11-plus exam leak


A fraud investigation is underway after pupils reported already seeing the papers for their 11-plus English and Maths exams, Plymouth City Council has confirmed.

Whitechapel councillor pleads guilty to fraud


A Tower Hamlets councillor has pleaded guilty to housing fraud after appearing in court yesterday.

Councillor jailed for ‘supplying false information’ to get elected


A former councillor has been jailed for two months for ‘supplying false information’ in order to win a safe Conservative seat.

Pickles outlines plan to tackle election fraud and corruption


The electoral system in Britain needs widespread reforms to crack down on corruption and fraud, a report from Sir Eric Pickles has warned.

London counter-fraud scheme could save £60m a year


The new London Counter Fraud Hub could detect up to £60m in fraud according to new data.

Councils call for ban in car 'clocking'


Council leaders are calling for a ban on mileage correction services, after latest figures showed around one in 20 cars are thought to be ‘clocked’.

Councils detected £271m in fraud last year


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

Data sharing programme uncovers £17m in fraud


A data sharing exercise between councils and other public sector organisations in Scotland has uncovered nearly £17m of fraud and errors.

Former council worker jailed for fraud


A former housing officer at Birmingham City Council has been sentenced to three years in prison for committing fraud against her employer.

Councils issue warning about online ticket fraud


Music and sports fans are at risk of a huge increase in online ticket fraud, council leaders have warned.

Thanet could face police probe into European funding fraud


A criminal investigation into the way Thanet District Council spent European funding should be conducted, according to the Government Internal Audit Agency (GIAA).

Ex-council worker jailed for role in ‘momentous’ housing fraud case


A former employee at Southwark Council has been jailed for five years for her involvement in a housing fraud case involving 23 fake housing applications.

Councils told to ‘take the fight to the fraudsters’


Councils have been issued with new guidance that is designed to combat the estimated £2bn lost through fraud every year.

Commission warns against complacency against electoral fraud


Nearly 500 cases of alleged electoral fraud was reported to the police last year, according to figures published by the Electoral Commission.

Agreement paves the way for blue badge abuse crackdown


Police and local authorities in Scotland have agreed to share information in order to crack down on the misuse of disabled parking permits.

Council worker admits using fake identities to avoid paying council tax


A council worker in Medway has been prosecuted after making up false identities to avoid paying council tax.

Councils warn residents about council tax scam


Tax payers have been warned not to be fall for a scam sweeping the country, which sees bogus companies saying they can help reduce people’s council tax bills for an upfront fee.

Council worker avoids jail after committing £36,000 benefit fraud


A former council employee has been spared jail after fraudulently claiming more than £36,000 in benefits.

London boroughs work together to crack down on fraud


A counter-fraud hub has been launched in London to crack down on fraud in the Capital and save London boroughs millions of pounds each year.

Council worker jailed for stealing half a million from care funds


A finance officer at Haringey Council has been jailed for defrauding the council out of nearly £500,000.

Ex-council worker jailed for £91,000 fraud


A former employee at West Sussex County Council has been sent to prison after admitting to defrauding the council of more than £90,000.

DWP reports £350m fall in benefit overpayments


Latest figures show benefit overpayments as a result of fraud and error have fallen by £350m over the last year.

Council worker sacked after defrauding authority


A council worker has been sacked from her job and handed a community punishment order after being found guilty of defrauding her employee out of £5,000.

'Unscrupulous' Blue Badge fraud doubles in past year


The number of Blue Badges being stolen has increased by 167% in the past year, town hall chiefs are warning.

Lincolnshire councils launch 'fraud-fighting force'


Councils in Lincolnshire have joined forces to crack down on people falsely claiming discounts on their council tax.

Pickles warns councils have ‘turned a blind eye’ to electoral fraud due to political correctness


Councils are ignoring allegations of electoral fraud for fear of offending ethnic minorities, Sir Eric Pickles has argued.

Council first to launch anti-fraud app


Bromley Council are ahead of the curve as the first council to introduce an app so people can report suspected fraud directly to the council.

Council manager stole £23k from family budgets


A former council boss took more than £23,000 of public money to cover his own credit card debts, a court has heard.

Councils face ‘huge’ rise in Right to Buy scams


Right to Buy fraud has more than doubled across London in the past year, with boroughs detecting scams worth almost £26m.

Former council worker jailed for identity fraud


Bromley Council has successfully prosecuted a former employee for housing benefit fraud after discovering the woman had secured her job and financial support from the council under a false identity.

Residents vote to abolish Brierley Town Council


Residents have voted in favour of scrapping a town council in south Yorkshire, after its town clerk was jailed for fraud and theft in 2013.

Landmark jail sentence handed to parking cheat


A motorist has been given 16 weeks in jail for forging a resident parking permit – believed to be the first prison sentence handed out for such an offence in Britain.

Fake barrister councillor gets suspended jail sentance


A former councillor who pretended who be a barrister to find work at five councils has been sentenced to a 14-month jail term, suspended for two years.

Council recovers £100,000 lost to scam


A city council was almost scammed out of £100,000 earlier this year after paying out into the wrong bank account, it has been revealed.

Councils need to do more to tackle housing benefit fraud says new survey


The illegal claiming of housing benefit is the biggest tenancy fraud problem facing councils, according to the results of a new survey.

Council staff admit taking bribes for building contracts


Two Edinburgh City Council employees have pleaded guilty to receiving thousands of pounds of bribes from building company staff.

Former councillor pretended to be a barrister


A former senior councillor has admitted pretending to be a barrister in a 14-year long campaign of fraud that saw her find work at five councils.

Commission will 'look to learn lessons' from Tower Hamlets


The Electoral Commission has said it will ‘look to learn lessons’ from Tower Hamlets after mayor Lutfur Rahman was found guilty of corrupt practices yesterday.

Pickles attacks councils over £30bn cash reserves and uncollected revenues


Councils have been urged to use the £30bn available in cash reserves and uncollected debts to protect frontline services, by local government secretary Eric Pickles.

One in four councils to freeze or lower council tax


Only a quarter of local authorities are to take up the government’s grant to freeze or lower council tax this year, according to new figures.

Plans to raise maximum fine for benefit fraud to £5,000


Maximum penalties for benefit fraud could be more than doubled under government proposal to be debated by MPs today.

Smarter use of technology could save councils £10bn, says think-tank


Local authorities could save £10bn by 2020 through smarter use of technology to share information and tackle fraud, a think tank claims.

Housing benefit overpayments rise to £1.4bn, watchdog finds


The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been blasted by MPs for failing to tackle housing benefit fraud and error, as overpayments rise to £1.4bn.

Councillor jailed for fraud


A Wigan councillor has been jailed for fraudulently claiming almost £1,700 in childcare costs.

Criminals jailed for council-tax re-branding scam


Three people have been found guilty and given prison sentences for a £250,000 council tax re-banding scam.

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Local Government News

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This issue of Local Government News explores how councils can tackle modern slavery and trafficking in their supply chains, finds out more about Cambridge's first cohousing scheme and the launch of a new project to build a shared service pattern library for local government.

This issue also contains a special focus on children's services and how councils are protecting children following local safeguarding children boards being abolished.

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