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Counter Fraud Corruption Strategy

Last updated on: 09-Apr-2021

8. Investigation

Our established corporate approach to co-ordinating the investigation of allegations of fraud and corruption is to ensure the effective use of the skills and resources within the organisation. Responsibility for investigating suspected fraud and corruption against the Council rests with the Audit & Counter Fraud Service. This is to ensure that the investigation is performed only by properly trained officers in accordance with the appropriate legislation, including (but not limited to):

  • Criminal Procedures and Investigations Act (CPIA) 1996
  • Data Protection Act 2018
  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984
  • Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
  • Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000
  • Corruption Act 1906
  • Fraud Act 2006
  • Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013
  • Local Government Finance Act 1992
  • The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992
  • Council Tax Reduction Schemes (Detection of Fraud and Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2013

All referrals will initially be risk assessed and the Audit & Counter Fraud Service will ensure the following objectives are met:

  • where it is deemed appropriate, investigations are undertaken fairly, objectively and in accordance with relevant laws and regulations, to avoid jeopardising the outcome on legal and procedural technicalities
  • to protect the evidence
  • to prove or disprove the original suspicions of fraud
  • if proven, to support the findings by producing effective evidence
  • to present evidence in an appropriate format accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service or the appropriate disciplining service
  • to apply appropriate sanctions and redress against those individuals and organisations that seek to defraud
  • identify any improvements in internal control, training needs or other suitable solutions to prevent or deter the reported activity from recurring

Where it appears that a criminal offence may have been committed, the Council’s presumption is that the issue will be pursued. The Council may decide to refer the matter to the police or instead use powers under Section 222 of the Local Government Act 1972 which enables local authorities, where they consider it “expedient for the promotion or protection of the interests of the inhabitants of their area to;

  1. Prosecute or defend or appear in legal proceedings and, in the case of civil proceedings, institute them in their own name
  2. In their own name, make representations in the interest of the inhabitants at any public enquiry held by or on behalf of any Minister or public body under any enactment”

When deciding to prosecute a matter in their name the Council will take consideration of the Code of Crown Prosecutors, you can view the code online at Crown Prosecution Service.

We will seek, where appropriate, to maximize the recovery of any losses connected to acts of fraud and corruption.

We have disciplinary procedures which must be followed whenever staff are suspected of committing a fraudulent or corrupt act. Any decision to take action beyond the Council’s disciplinary procedures will only be progressed with the agreement of the Chief Executive and Director (Corporate Services), and any such decision will not be seen to prohibit and should not unnecessarily delay action under the Council’s disciplinary procedure.

The investigation process must not be misused. The council will treat any reporting of unfounded malicious allegations seriously. Where employees are concerned, any such finding from the investigation process may be treated as a disciplinary matter.

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