Somerset County Council
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Fraud transparency

 

We are required by the Local Government Transparency Code 2015 to publish the following:  


Information to be published  Somerset County Council response 
Number of occasions they use powers under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud (Power to Require Information) (England) Regulations 2014, or similar powers.  This is not directly applicable to Somerset County Council as we are not a housing authority. These powers have therefore not been used.
Total number (absolute and full time equivalent) of employees undertaking investigations and prosecutions of fraud  Somerset County Council has externalised its internal audit function to the South West Audit Partnership (SWAP), and buys “audit days” back from this local authority owned not-for-profit company. It therefore does not have any staff employed specifically for this work.
However:
  • Within the internal audit plan 2016/2017, there are a number of audits included which have a direct link to fraud and governance. Auditors are always mindful of potential fraud risks on every audit they undertake. 
  • As and when a potential fraud needs investigating, days are drawn down from SWAP as and when required. 
  • Under the previous bi-annual round of the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) scheme, relevant officers in payroll, pensions, accounts payable, accounts receivable, blue badges and concessionary fares have reviewed over 5,000 data “matches”, where NFI work suggested potential irregularities. It is not possible to quantify the FTE involved. 
  • The latest NFI data “matches” were received in January 2017 and officers will continue the exercise with the new data.
Total number (absolute and full time equivalent) of professionally accredited counter fraud specialists.  No staff – see above for details. SWAP has a number of suitably qualified counter fraud specialists that are engaged as and when required.
Total amount spent by the authority on the investigation and prosecution of fraud As above – not possible to quantify the NFI activity in particular. 
Total number of fraud cases investigated  Six local cases of potential fraud or irregularity have been investigated in 2016. Some have been closed and some are with the Police or Crown Prosecution Service. 
Total number of cases of irregularity investigated  Some 5,000 data “matches” (as above) were examined. Six total fraud / irregularities have been investigated, with fraud specialist, legal and police advice as appropriate. 
Total number of occasions on which
a) fraud and
b) irregularity was detected 
Depends on outcome of active cases. 
Total monetary value of
a) the fraud and
b) the irregularity that was detected 
Depends on outcome of active cases. 
Total monetary value of
a) the fraud and
b) the irregularity that was recovered 
None yet for these cases (previous cases have resulted in £2,000 ordered by the court.
NFI work on the last bi-annual round also detected c£34,000 of genuine errors that were all recovered. 
Useful links to further information   
Internal Audit Plan 2016/2017  http://www1.somerset.gov.uk/council/meetings/reports.asp?item=1230  
Audit Committee annual report on anti-fraud and corruption work  http://democracy.somerset.gov.uk/documents/s1602/Item%209%20-%20Anti-Fraud%20and%20Corruption%20Review.pdf 
   
Contact details for further information   
Chief Internal Auditor  Martin Gerrish Strategic Manager – Financial Governance
mgerrish@somerset.gov.uk
01823 355303 
South West Audit Partnership  http://www.southwestaudit.co.uk/ 


Fraud transparency - January 2017

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