The Chairman welcomed Ms. M. Wall, Bromsgrove District Council’s Fraud Services Manager to the meeting.
The Fraud Services Manager explained the background of the report to Members and confirmed that it was an accepted fact that fraud would increase because of the current economic climate and that fraud clearly had an adverse impact on the economy and the services which the Council provided to its residents.
The Fraud Services Manager highlighted the high risk areas which had been identified and discussed these in detail with Members:
· Housing Tenancy Fraud
· Single Person Discount Fraud and other Council Tax discounts and exemptions
· Recruitment Fraud
· Blue Badge Fraud
The Fraud Services Manager informed Members that she would be providing Fraud Awareness training for Bromsgrove District Housing Trust Homeless Housing Team and the Council’s Housing Strategy staff.
It was also acknowledged that Recruitment Fraud was an area, where without adequate vetting procedures, was easy to manipulate and was an area within the Council which needed to be addressed. The Fraud Services Manager explained that Human Resources were currently undergoing a shared service arrangement and it was difficult to put procedures and training in place. However it had been agreed that this would be a priority when the shared service was finalised. It had also been agreed that Anti Fraud training would be included within the Corporate Induction programme with effect from April 2011.
The Fraud Services Manager also drew Members’ attention to the results of the Fraud Survey which had been carried out in October 2010 and highlighted areas of concern. After further discussion it was
(a) that the Audit Commission’s Checklist as set out in Appendix 1 to the report be undertaken, to provide a baseline of where we are and to ensure sound governance and counter fraud arrangements are working as intended;
(b) that the review of the outcomes of the Fraud Survey as shown at Appendix 2 to the report be noted;
(c) that the review of outcomes of Investigations undertaken by the Corporate Anti-Fraud Team during 2009/2010 and the first 6 months of 2010/2011 be noted;
(d) that the targeting of the risks identified in the report as raised nationally be approved.
RECOMMENDED that the Cabinet continue to undertake a commitment to fight possible fraud and corruption against the Council, by initially using the Audit Commission’s self assessment Checklist at Appendix 1 of the report and to consider potential risks to the Council by utilising the Corporate Anti-Fraud Team (CAFT) to identify and prevent such risks.