Agenda item

Corporate Anti-Fraud Service Half-Year Report (1 April 2023 to 30 September 2023)

This report provides an account of fraud-related activity during the first half of the financial year to minimise the risk of fraud, bribery and corruption occurring within and against the Council.


For the period 1 April 2023 and 30 September 2023, the Council identified 235 positive outcomes. The fraud identified has a notional value of over £680,000.



Andy Hyatt (Head of Fraud) briefed the Committee on the report and noted that for the period between 1 April and 30 September 2023, the Council had identified 235 positive outcomes and the fraud identified a notional value of over £680,000.


Councillor Florian Chevoppe-Verdier commended on the Corporate Anti-fraud Service’s increasing value for money in terms of staff cost to notional value ratio. He asked about the reasons for abandonment of the Council’s properties. Andy Hyatt referred to some tenancy cases whereby the tenants returned the keys after being found sub-letting the property.  Although data matching and use of technique had helped identify possible frauds, there were cases of unproven sub-letting with the tenant leaving no associated financial footprint while the sub-tenant not answering the door upon investigator’s visits.  


Councillor Chevoppe-Verdier asked further question on people’s moonlighting by working for two councils at the same time.  Andy Hyatt noted that the local authority had just completed the data impact assessment and signed a data sharing agreement with some London agencies. Such data sharing might soon be expanded to nation-wide scale as the hybrid mode of working allowed people taking up jobs in London and another city simultaneously.   As to how the local authority could share data with local and overseas banks, Andy referred to the Council’s participation in the National Fraud Initiative’s data matching exercise which helped uncover data identity theft in conjunction with the police.


Regarding the enquiry of Councillor Adrian Pascu-Tulbure about the calculation of the notional value, Andy Hyatt noted that it varied depending on the type and use of value for prevention or detection. For example, the formula adopted by the Tenancy Board was based on the amount of money spent on temporary accommodation linked to the number of rooms in the property concerned. Some local authorities would also take into account other actual loss such as benefits entitlement.


Councillor Ashok Patel referred to case 1 on Appendix 1 in which the tenant was an Albanian faking as a Kosovan homeless in late 2002 when he was granted a one-bed tenancy and housing benefits.  He was found sub-letting the property between July 2008 and October 2012 (during the period of his absence from the UK following deportation).  All these came to light upon the due diligence checks on his right-to-buy application. Councillor Patel asked for the rationale behind the barrister’s advice  against criminal charges.


Andy Hyatt noted that criminal prosecution with a not guilty plea involved lengthy trial and high legal cost even if the technicalities of the case met the standard for prosecution.  He remarked that in this instance, the Council was the Prosecting Authority as only really big cases would go through the Crown Prosecution Service which might not incur cost to the Council. Andy said he was pleased to share with Councillor Patel outside the meeting more details as to why criminal charges were not pursued for this case.


ACTION: Andy Hyatt


Councillor Chevoppe-Verdier opined that those fraud tenants might not hand back the properties so readily if the Council was going to sue them.  Moreover, the Council could re-allocate the recovered properties after housing the sub-tenants concerned in temporary accommodation. Andy Hyatt agreed and said the officers should explain the consequences to the residents in a skilful way.



That the Committee agreed to note the report.


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