Wednesday 22 May 2024
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Nottingham

County council committed to protecting taxpayers’ money against fraudsters

Nottinghamshire County Council says that it is continuing to ensure robust measures are in place to safeguard public money against falling into the hands of fraudsters.

The county council has specialist teams working tirelessly to ensure taxpayers’ money is protected from sophisticated attacks by cybercriminals as the ongoing fight against fraud continues.

At the latest Governance & Ethics committee meeting, members received a report on the work undertaken by the council to counter fraud and deter fraudsters.

The work builds on the continuing counter-fraud measures put in place by the council as reported in the Annual Fraud Report, which identified counter-fraud activities had thwarted hundreds of attempts totalling an eye-watering £4.6m since 2018.

Common fraud attempts in the public sector include changes to bank details and false payment requests, deprivation of assets and misuse of direct payments.

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As part of the council’s ongoing work, it has moved to reassure residents that it takes a zero-tolerance approach to attempts at fraud and will use the full force of the law against fraudsters.

This is demonstrated by the council’s proactive work and its support in bringing prosecutions against fraudsters suspected of the misappropriation of funds and misuse of direct payments.

Councillor Philip Owen, chairman of the Governance and Ethics Committee, said: “Fraud is illegal and diverts taxpayers’ money away from the provision of essential local public services.

“We’re aware that fraudsters are exploiting various types of fraud and cybercrime for their own gain, and we are committed to robust counter fraud activities and the prosecution of individuals who defraud the council.

“Therefore, it is vitally important that we continue to maintain fraud prevention measures to redress the balance between speed of actions and the robustness of checks and other measures to prevent fraud.”

The county council is making sure its staff and management teams are following simple measures to help prevent fraud and ultimately protect public money.

Staff are being encouraged to complete a Fraud Awareness e-learning training course, which includes advice from Nottinghamshire Police to be vigilant against fraud, and are also receiving the latest guidance to prevent fraud at work and at home.

Councillor Owen added: “Despite the success of the county council over the last five years, we can’t rest on our laurels – attempts at fraud happen every day in every part of the UK.

“Unscrupulous fraudsters will unfortunately always be a risk, but our excellent specialist staff are ready and waiting to stop any attempts to steal taxpayers’ money from the county council.”

In addition, the council has put together some useful information, links and tips in relation to common scams against the general public.

Residents can check out the county council’s fraud awareness advice on its website to help protect themselves and their loved ones from scams.

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