More than £300K recovered by Bedford Borough Council Fraud Investigation Service

The county council needs to make savings
The county council needs to make savings
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More than £300k was recovered by Bedford Borough Council’s Fraud Investigation Service with legal action resulting in eight prosecutions and 21 housing possessions.

Most of the cash recovered was from upaid council tax or parking charges with a further £328K ‘notional’savings made.

The figures, reported to the council’s audit committee, related to major categories of fraud which included council tax, housing and blue badge fraud (disabled parking) for 2016/17.

The report stated: “The performance of the Service in 2016/17 had a total value of almost £640k of which £310k was ‘cashable’ savings and £328k was ‘notional’. Cashable saving related to actual money which could be recovered, such as unpaid council tax or parking charges for which an invoice could be raised.

“Notional saving related to costs incurred, such as the cost of having to provide accommodation to a Homeless person as a result of social housing being unavailable due to fraudulent activity.”

The Fraud Investigation Service highlighted the volume of cases looked at which included:

Type of fraud Fraud cases Value Average

Council tax 49 £77,659 £1,585

Housing 21 £335,080 £15,956

Blue Badge 13 £13,000 £1,000.

The main areas of council tax fraud came from

Council Tax Reduction Scheme (10,000 claims)

Single Person Discounts (25,000 discounts)

Exemptions (500 student & 200 probate).

With housing -the main areas of fraudulent activity were:

Subletting

False application for Housing

Non-occupation.

The Fraud Investigation Service said working with BPHA in relation to Housing fraud eased pressure on the council’s homeless service when properties were recovered.

Within the Blue Badge category, the main areas of fraudulent activity were:

False application

Badge Holder not present

Altered/Expired badge.

The report stated successful action increased the availability of disabled parking and increased revenue for the council.