Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The Shared Anti-Fraud Service (SAFS) Manager presented a report in respect of progress with delivery of the 2022/23 Anti-Fraud Plan.
In response to a number of Members’ questions, the SAFS Manager advised:
· he expected an increase in fraud reporting/cases due to the cost of living crisis. An internal communications campaign would be carried out to heighten staff awareness to the potential for increased fraud, and public awareness would be heightened as part of the work on National Fraud Awareness week;
· SAFS was one of the supported organisations on the National Fraud Initiative (NFI), although there was a limited amount that would be gained for SAFS from the NFI Fraud Awareness week;
· the national estimate that the cost to local government for each social housing property that was being sub-let of at least £42,000 per property included the costs of fraud investigation; bringing the unit back into lettable condition; and the income loss incurred whilst the property was empty;
· SAFS staff were employed by Hertfordshire County Council. Rigorous employment checks (including DBS) were carried out on new SAFS staff. The DBS checks for all SAFS staff were reviewed on an annual basis;
· the reporting of fraud came from a variety of sources, primarily either from staff or members of the public;
· in relation to 6 Council properties that had been sub-let or misused by the tenant and had been recovered, there was a strong likelihood that there were more such cases. It was pointed out that it was often difficult to detect/investigate them or obtain clarity on the level of fraud alleged. SBC had funded a post through the HRA to assist SAFS in the tackling of tenancy fraud; and
· he agreed that it was important that National Fraud Awareness week should be advertised in public places for the benefit of those with limited or no access to IT/social media.
It was RESOLVED that the work of the Council and the Shared Anti-Fraud Service in delivering the 2022/23 Anti-Fraud Plan be noted.
Publication date: 15/11/2022
Date of decision: 09/11/2022
Decided at meeting: 09/11/2022 - Audit Committee