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Council clampdown in fight against fraudsters

News release 8513, published on 22 Aug 2019
Investigative work by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to protect public funds and support the funding of key council services has uncovered nearly quarter of a million pounds of fraud and error in just one year.

Through working closely with partners and taking advantage of sophisticated data matching technology the council identified £233,000 which has been wrongly claimed, or which would otherwise be lost, in areas including housing benefit and council tax during the financial year 2018/19. 

This is an increase of £53,000 from the previous year. 

More than £92,000 worth of Housing Benefit was identified as fraud and error thanks to work with the Department for Work and Pensions. 

The National Fraud Initiative run by the Cabinet Office, which uses data matching technology to uncover false claims for single person council tax discounts, was used to successfully identify more than £117,500. 

The council has also been working to spread the word about the impact or fraud, sharing messages about cyber fraud, money laundering and reporting fraud, which led to the council’s fraud team being praised in a national trade publication. 

Cabinet Member for Finance and Service Improvement at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Cllr Hannah Golding said: “We take fraud very seriously and work hard, alongside other agencies, to investigate all types.

“This includes people falsely claiming council tax single person discount, companies claiming business rate exemptions they aren’t entitled to and people applying for a property they aren’t eligible for. 

“We receive hundreds of referrals from the public and our partners, and we follow up on all reports of fraud. 

To report any suspicions, please call the fraud hotline on 0800 525927 or email fraudinvestigators@basingstoke.gov.uk or visit www.basingstoke.gov.uk/report-fraud  
 
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