Over £200k saved after Bedford council recovered 17 social housing properties being used for tenancy fraud

Council also prosecuted two cases of blue badge fraud
Borough Hall, Bedford. Image LDRSBorough Hall, Bedford. Image LDRS
Borough Hall, Bedford. Image LDRS

Bedford Borough Council has recovered 17 social housing properties that were being used for tenancy fraud, saving over £200,000 on temporary accommodation bills.

The council’s Audit Committee (March 12) heard that the three key areas of fraud investigation are council tax, blue badges and housing fraud.

Adam Goodyear, investigations team leader, gave the committee an overview of the investigations for the last financial year, up to the end of February 2024.

He said: “[There have] been 19 proven cases of council tax fraud worth £45,000 in additional billing. We have recovered 17 social housing properties subject to tenancy fraud.

“So far this year that represents a saving to the authority of £238,000 from reduced spend on temporary accommodation, and bed and breakfast usage.

"And we’ve successfully investigated and prosecuted two cases of blue badge fraud with a notional value of £2,000.

“We’ve opened 160 cases this year and concluded 116 cases. Of those 116 cases, we have 111 positive outcomes. That does seem quite high, but we record every positive outcome per case, so there may be multiple positive outcomes on one investigation.”

Councillor Lucy Bywater (Green, Castle and Newnham) said: “There are people being deprived of a disabled parking space because someone’s using that space fraudulently.

“And there are people in temporary housing who could be in social housing and they’re being delayed because of people wrongfully taking that housing. So it’s really satisfying to hear this.”

The committee heard that the total value of service from the team is £877,000 (£529,372 in invoices/bills generated, an estimated future yield of £100,003 and £247,968 in loss/cost avoidance).

If you suspect fraud is being committed in Bedford Borough you report online at www.reportafraud.co.uk/bedfordbc.