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Explains how irregularity is defined, how to report an irregularity affecting the council and how the council detects fraud.
How is irregularity defined?
Irregularity can cover a number of different things. It may be a criminal act such as theft or fraud; it may be a failure to observe, or breaches of, the councils' governing policies and procedures.
The policy explains what the council means by irregularity and details the councils' procedures for notifying and dealing with any concerns that arise. A zero tolerance approach is taken to known instances and attempts of irregularity.
How do I report an irregularity (fraud) affecting the council?
You can make referrals by completing the:
or by calling the 24-hour Whistle blowing Hotline answerphone:
Tel: (01482) 394123
Internal audit manager
Tel: (01482) 394105
Tel: (01482) 394107
or contact the council’s external auditor:
Partner - Public Services
Tel: (0113) 394 5315
Referrals can always be made anonymously but the effectiveness of any investigation is helped by the provision of as much information as possible about the matter concerned.
Try and include the following facts as a minimum - who, what, where, when and how?
All appropriate measures are taken to protect both its clients, including children and vulnerable people and public funds and to reduce the risk of an irregularity occurring from either internal or external sources.
An irregularity of any description, when detected, will be investigated and appropriate action taken which may include prosecution, disciplinary and recovery action.
The whistle-blowing Policy document below sets out the details of the council's procedures for dealing with concerns that are raised, together with how you can raise your concerns.
If you have concerns please do not try to investigate them yourself as this may adversely impact on our ability to undertake an effective investigation of the issues raised. Simply report it giving as many facts about the issue as you can.
How does the council detect fraud?
The council takes very seriously its role in protecting public monies and participates in proactive activities to prevent and detect fraud and error, for example by participation in the Cabinet Office National Fraud Initiative (NFI), matching electronic data both within and between a number of bodies, including police authorities, fire and rescue authorities as well as local councils and the NHS.
Further information on the programme is available from the Cabinet Office:
The use of data for NFI purposes continues to be controlled to ensure compliance with data protection and human rights legislation. A revised Code of data matching practice was published and laid before Parliament on 21 July 2008. From 1 April 2015 responsibility for the NFI passed from the Audit Commission to the Cabinet Office. NFI exercise will use the powers given to the Minister for the Cabinet Office by Part 6 of the Audit & Accountability Act 2014. The existing code of data matching practice (external website) will continue in effect until the Minister for the Cabinet Office issues a new code.
Internal data matching processes are also regularly conducted and the potential for fraud and error is considered in all internal audit work.
The Local Government Transparency Code requires the council to publish the following information about its counter-fraud work:
|Number of occasions they use powers under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud (Power to Require Information)(England) Regulations 2014, or similar||156|
|Total number (absolute and full-time equivalent) of employees undertaking investigations and prosecutions of fraud||7 (6.6 FTE)|
|Total number (absolute and full-time equivalent) of professionally accredited counter fraud specialists||6 (5.5 FTE)|
|Total amount spent by the authority on the investigation and prosecution of fraud||£226,248|
|Total number of fraud cases investigated||1,617|