Fraud investigators to save, gain or recover £1.6M for Powys Council

FRAUD investigators will save, gain or recover a total of £1.636 million this year for Powys County Council, a committee will be told.

A report looking at how the council is dealing with “fraud and error” will be discussed at a meeting of the Governance and Audit committee on Friday, March 31.

The report says that so far in 2022/2023 the fraud team have conducted 149 investigations.

From these investigations the report says that fraud has been proven in 31 cases and 14 of these have gone on to be prosecuted with the perpetrators receiving £700 worth of fines and other sanctions.

Most of the investigations centre on council tax with 47 cases about the council tax reduction scheme.

A further 45 cases have looked at other elements of fraud in relation to council tax such as discounts, exemptions and premiums.

The report said :  “The value of potential income saved or gained by Powys Council over the course of 52 weeks from the work of the team around fraud and error is £1,265,492.”

“The value of recoverable overpayments for the council from the work of the team around fraud and error is £370,749.”

Head of finance, Jane Thomas said: “We are now seeking committee’s views on any particular areas of focus for the team’s work next year that it feels may be relevant.

“This can then help inform our work plans for 2023/24.”

The report also explains the work being done by the council to address fraud and error following an internal audit.

Part of the work includes promoting fraud awareness amongst staff and

This was done by publishing information within the council which explains the work, as well as highlighting fraud awareness week which was held from March 6 to March 10.

The report also says that the council is encouraging staff and councillors to “take up” e-learning modules online so that they have a better understanding of the issue.

Codes of conduct for both councillors and staff will also include anti-fraud references.

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