Agenda item

Counter Fraud Services Annual Report 2022-23


Ken Johnson (Counter Fraud Services Manager) presented the Counter Fraud Services Annual Report 2022/23 and highlighted the following key points:



the Counter Fraud Services Annual Report detailed a summary of the work completed over the past 12 months and demonstrated good governance by Plymouth City Council to address counter fraud risks and threats. The report provided assurance to the Council as well as the citizens of Plymouth that the budgets were being protected and funds spent wisely. Fraud was an ever present and ever growing threat however officers were doing their best to protect the Council, its officers and the interests of the public;



the savings detailed in the report were consistent with the trend of previous years however the way work was approached was slightly different in that a lot of work was going in to checking records and protecting the public purse;



It was emphasised that a lot of the work undertaken to protect the public purse was based around the fact that the Council had a finite resource to provide public services and that had to be spent on those that required it. Every pound that was saved through the work of the Counter Fraud Services Team was money that could go back into front line services;



the team went back to assess work that was put in place to apply CIPFA best practice; the report at appendix 1 demonstrated a good response. Internal Audit and the Counter Fraud Team and Devon Audit Partnership worked closely together to provide integrated assurance;



the National Fraud Initiative was ongoing and statistical information would be provided at the next meeting of the Audit and Governance Committee; there were a few thousand matches to come back which would need to be checked. Some of those matches would be low value and others would be more significant. This bi-annual exercise also increased the resilience to Data Protection Act requirements;



several fraud investigations were still ongoing and several allegations had been dealt with; as financial pressures were increasing, fraud activity was also increasing.


In response to questions raised it was reported that



national statistics specified that between 4-6% of budgets were lost through fraud; control through social care budgets and reviews may not happen as regularly as they could due to high demand and high pressure in that area of work and it was likely that this increased the risk of fraudulent activity.



savings described in the report were either cashable or non-cashable; for example, savings for council tax fraud would be cashable and that would be immediately billable resulting in someone having to pay. However if fraudulent activity was found with someone subletting a social housing property then the person would be removed from the property and the house would be put back on the social housing register for a new tenant. The Council could then place someone in that property instead of paying for emergency accommodation for example – that money would be non-cashable and a saving.


The Committee agreed to note the Counter Fraud Services Annual Report 2022/23.


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