The council is committed to the highest possible standards of openness, probity, honesty, integrity and accountability. The council will actively seek to deter and prevent fraud and corruption to ensure that all possible risks in these areas are minimised. Where fraud and corruption is suspected or detected it will be thoroughly investigated and any proven cases dealt with in a consistent and proportionate manner. Appropriate sanctions and redress will be pursued against anyone perpetrating, or seeking to perpetrate fraud and corruption against the council.
What fraud and corruption means
Fraud means depriving someone of something by deceit (by misuse of funds or other resources, or more complicated crimes like false accounting or the supply of false information) and corruption is the offering, giving, soliciting, or acceptance of an inducement or reward that may influence any person to act inappropriately.
The council's anti-fraud and corruption strategy sets out our approach to the prevention, detection and investigation of fraud and corruption.
Possible signs of fraud or corruption
The strategy sets out risk factors that may indicate fraud or corruption, for example:
- unusual employee behaviour
- financial irregularities
- bad procurement practices
- inadequate supervision
- lax corporate culture
- poor work practices
Reporting and investigation procedure
There are reporting and investigation procedures in the strategy as follows:
- Employees of the council should report any irregularities or suspected irregularities to their line manager and if this is not appropriate to the head of service, service manager or any officer detailed in the strategy.
- Councillors who receive any type of fraud or corruption allegation should report this promptly, as detailed in the strategy.
- The line manager, service manager or deputy director / head of service who receives the allegation (whether from a councillor or a council employee) must refer the matter to the relevant people, as detailed in the strategy, for consideration and investigation.
- The investigating officer must follow the Guidelines for Managers on Investigating Allegations as well as the Protocol for Investigating Irregularities, which includes the need to: deal promptly with the matter; record all evidence received; ensure that all evidence is sound and adequately supported; ensure security of all evidence collected; contact other agencies if necessary e.g. police; notify the council's insurers; and implement council disciplinary procedures where appropriate.
- Where appropriate, the council will report irregularities to the police for investigation and prosecution.
There is an expectation and requirement that all individuals and organisations associated with the council will act with integrity and that all employees and councillors will lead by example in these matters. Employees have an important role to play in relation to protection against fraud and corruption. They are encouraged to report any concerns, associated with the council's finances, resources and responsibilities and these will be thoroughly investigated. Any concern raised in confidence will be treated in confidence as far as possible, but relevant information may be passed on to those who need to know.
The council has a sound system for internal control in place that facilitates the effective exercise of the council's functions and includes arrangements for the management of risk and adequate separation of duties. This is set out in the council's Annual Governance Statement and Code of Corporate Governance.
The council works in cooperation with other bodies that will assist in scrutinising our systems and defences against fraud and corruption.
The anti-fraud and corruption strategy can be downloaded at the bottom of this page. This outlines the approach to countering fraud including:
The council also has arrangements in place for dealing with general complaints as well as separate, statutory procedures for complaints from users of adult and children social services. Visit the complaints page to find out how to make a formal complaint. Also visit the Whistleblowing and serious concerns page.