This Online Forum will provide participants with the opportunity to examine successful methods of tackling fraud and corruption in the public sector. Attendees will be provided with an update from Cifas and Local Government Association on the ‘Fighting Fraud and Corruption Locally Strategy 2020’ as well as hearing from fraud experts from the Cabinet Office, Department of Work and Pensions and City of London Police. In addition, best practice practitioners will share guidance on implementing effective data matching practices, building an organisational counter-fraud culture, and developing the in-house capacity to recover public funds.
The day is split into 4 sections – ‘Policy Update’ ‘Innovating Audits and Detection of Risk’ and ‘Preventing Fraud Through Capacity-Building’
According to the Cross-Government Fraud Landscape Report 2019, the government loses between £2.8bn-£22.6bn per year to fraud. Local authorities are expected to lose £7.8bn specifically, and according to the CIPFA Fraud and Corruption Tracker, the four major fraud areas include council tax, disabled parking, housing, and business rates. Council tax fraud is expected to cost £30.6m alone in 2018/19.
In seeking to address a challenge that continues to grow in scale and complexity, the government established a Counter Fraud Function in 2018 which brings civil servants together to fight fraud across the public sector. In the following year, senior leaders from the Function came together to agree a Counter Fraud Functional Strategy set to shape their confined efforts until 2023. This included the development of the world’s first public sector Counter Fraud Profession to build capacity and support organisations to evolve.
To support local authorities more specifically, the Government in collaboration with CIPFA Counter Fraud Centre published the Fighting Fraud and Corruption Locally Strategy 2020 in March 2020. The strategy looks at current issues, risks and good practice and provides councils with a counter-fraud standard to benchmark their practices. In conjunction with this, to promote innovation in fraud prevention, the Local Government Authority (LGA) has also published case-studies from the Councils who received £16m funding from the Government’s Counter Fraud Fund in 2016. Furthermore, in June 2020, The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government released their Local Government Procurement: Fraud and Corruption Risk Review, which outlined best practice and risks of fraud and corruption when councils procure and commission goods, works and services.
Local authorities must now work together to innovate auditing and detection of risk, prevent fraud through capacity-building, and use enforcement powers to recover public funds. Failure to do so will lead to increased financial strain on the public sector and a loss of confidence from the public.
*Please note to comply with the latest public health guidance around Covid-19, this conference will run entirely via an online platform. Specific joining instructions and guidance will be provided to registered delegates
- Analysing the new ‘Fighting Fraud and Corruption Locally Strategy 2020’ including current risks, issues and best practice from councils who received £16m funding from the Government’s Counter Fraud Fund
- Highlighting CIFAS resources including the ‘Protecting the Vulnerable’ service, Joint Fraud Taskforce and Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Force
- Sharing how central government, local authorities and law enforcement can collaborate more effectively to tackle fraud and corruption in line with the ‘Local Authority Counter-Fraud Standards’
- Commenting on the MHCLG’s Local Government Procurement: Fraud and Corruption Risk Review, including the impact it could have on supporting councils to tackle internal fraud and corruption
- Articulating the Cabinet Office’ vision for increased adoption of data analytics to identify fraud, highlighting the resources outlined in the ‘Cross-Government Fraud Landscape Annual Report 2019’
- Outlining the work of the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) including matching electronic data within and between public and private bodies, improving access to data and analytics techniques
- Sharing NFI products for improved data matching including AppCheck, ReCheck and the FraudHub and providing case studies to exemplify how these work
- Highlighting data matching powers bestowed by Digital Economy Act 2017 and the Code of Data Matching Practice
- Outlining how the council utilizes the powers outlined in the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 and Digital Economy Act 2017 to conduct data matching
- Examining what data will be shared and with which public bodies, including council tax, blue badge parking and housing benefits
- Highlighting progress made so far including upskilling staff through training and investigating the first case of fraud through partnership working
- Sharing challenges and lessons learnt including deciding the definition of ‘personal data’ with partners and other GDPR concerns
*Please note this session will be pre-recorded and played on the day.
- Examining the development of the counter fraud unit made up of a wide range of professionals, including ex-police officers and housing experts, which has delivered savings of more than £7,000,000 since its conception
- Analysing the culture of continuous improvement in the team created through the ‘audit recommendation tracker process’ which encourages employees to report issues and submit suggestions to improve systems and processes
- Highlighting exercises to ensure collaborative working between the council and its partners, including a memorandum of understanding (MoU), opening offices to police officers and multi-agency exercises
- Outlining the e-learning fraud awareness module rolled out across the wider organization, focusing on high risk areas including housing, direct payment, schools, and corporate property
- Outlining the development of the government counter-fraud profession, including the 3,807 current members, and discussing future plans to include local authorities
- Sharing the career pathway from trainee to advanced practitioner level and gaining insights from graduates of the Counter Fraud Investigator (CFI) Apprenticeship Scheme
- Highlighting resources to aid professional development including the Professional Skills Platform (PSP), public sector counter fraud journal and member certification and qualifications
- Examining progress made in the DWP and how the introduction of the profession has improved outcomes in terms of fraud
- Outlining the process of standardizing counter fraud frameworks across Manchester City Council, Bolton Council and Greater Manchester Combined Authority
- Examining the partnership with the whistleblowing charity ‘Protect’ to deliver specialist training to officers responsible for handling whistleblowing concerns across the three councils, including Internal Audit, Human Resources and Legal Services
- Highlighting the other resources provided by Protect, including dedicated advice helplines for each authority and tailored e-learning
- Sharing the benefits of a consistent approach across 12,000 staff including minimized time and cost negotiating separate arrangements, leaving more resources to tackle fraud at its source
- Outlining Warwickshire County Council’s Bribery & Corruption Framework, which is designed to tackle fraud and protect public funds throughout the procurement process
- Examining the council’s Contract Management Framework which contains measures aimed at minimising/detecting fraud, such as regular reviews of Contract Standing Orders and related procurement processes and procedures for managers
- Sharing guidance on how councils can effectively implement a whistleblowing policy across all tenders, including publishing guidance for suppliers, and encouraging suppliers to report any behaviour they consider to be inappropriate
- Highlighting the impact of the council’s ‘Do the Right Thing’ campaign, which reminds staff of their obligations to tackle fraud and corruption, as well as provide case studies of where things could go wrong and offers good practice hints and tips.
- Outlining the role, background, and cost of the two financial investigators who work with teams across Croydon Council to recover public funds and assets
- Highlighting the powers of the financial investigators including confiscation via the Proceeds of Crime Act (PoCA) and the ability to apply for restraint orders which freeze property or bank accounts anywhere in the world
- Sharing the success of the team including the detention of £110,000, enactment of 62 restraint orders and a PoCA that resulted in £166,839 compensation
- Discussing how their responsibilities tie in with the wider anti-fraud and corruption policies and activities
*programme subject to change
This Forum is specifically designed for Local and Central Government and the wider Public Sector. Typical job titles will include:
- Heads of Audit or Internal Audit
- Counter-Fraud and Corruption Managers
- Heads of Assurance
- Finance Directors
- Chief Executives
- Revenues and Benefits Managers
- Case Managers
- Operation Managers
- Cabinet Members for Finance and Governance
- Finance Officers
- Investigating Officers
- Procurement Business Managers
- Account Managers
- Public Sector£295+ VAT
- Voluntary Sector£245+ VAT
- Private Sector£395+ VAT