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New local government fraud survey

A survey launched recently will examine the extent of detected fraud and corruption in England’s councils, police, fire and rescue and probation services.

The Audit Commission is asking 500 organisations for data, in an effort to chart losses caused by fraud. 

The Commission’s regular update on its anti-fraud work, Protecting the Public Purse, published in September, promised annual fraud surveys. The Fraud and Corruption survey is the first of these.

Derek Elliott, Head of Governance and Counter-fraud Unit, Audit Commission, said:
"The more data we have, the more effective we can be in stopping the undeserving from stealing taxpayers' cash.

"It has never been more important that councils fight fraud. Every pound lost to cheats is a pound that cannot be used by those most in need.

"We will use the survey results in the fight against fraud and corruption in public services, to raise awareness of fraud and to promote best practice in the public sector."

The survey will include information about areas where fraudsters tend to prey, including: the single person discount for council tax, unauthorised tenancies in social housing, procurement fraud, identity fraud, recruitment fraud and abuse of position or privilege. 

Protecting the Public Purse (PPP) 2010 will contain the survey results when it is published next year.

Notes to editors

  • Protecting the Public Purse considers the risks and pressures facing councils and other public bodies and identifies good practice in fighting fraud. The study argued that each pound lost to cheats is a pound that cannot be used to pay for services. The report identified risks to do with tenancies, council tax and recruitment.
  • The Audit Commission is an independent watchdog, driving economy, efficiency and effectiveness in local public services to deliver better outcomes for everyone. As a force for improvement, we work in partnership to assess local public services and make practical recommendations for promoting a better quality of life for local people. For more details about the role of the Audit Commission visit: www.audit-commission.gov.uk.

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