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Posted by: John Brace | 19th December 2014

Wirral Council reveals it identified £1,256,823 of fraud and £409,311 of "irregularity" in the last year

Wirral Council reveals it identified £1,256,823 of fraud and £409,311 of “irregularity” in the last year

                                        

One of the advantages to the new transparency regime imposed on Wirral Council by national government regulations is that they’re being forced to publish more information about their activities by the deadline of 31st December 2014.

For example the information below is on their fraud investigating efforts. As I’m obliged to do so under the terms of the licence I will state “This contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.”

Here are the statistics published about Wirral Council for fraud in 2013/14 on the data.gov.uk website. My comments are added in italics.

Number of occasions powers under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud (Power to Require Information)(England) Regulations 2014, or similar powers used 2.

The regulations explicitly referred to came into effect until 6th April 2014, therefore couldn’t have actually been used at all by Wirral Council in the 13/14 financial year. Looking at the new regulations it’s about requesting information from such as banks on people suspected of housing fraud.

Total number (absolute and full-time equivalent) of employees undertaking investigations and prosecutions of fraud 7

Total number (absolute and full-time equivalent) of professionally accredited counter fraud specialists 7

Not quite sure whether these are a total of 14 employees or the same 7 in both categories.

Amount spent by the authority on the investigation and prosecution of fraud £159,000

Probably a combination of employee time, legal costs and external costs

Number of fraud cases investigated 507

So split between 7 FT employees, that’s an average of 72 each a year or 26 hours per a case.

Total number of occasions on which fraud was identified 71

Well I’d expect this number to be less than 507.

Total number of occasions on which irregularity was identified 436

In other words in every fraud case investigated where fraud wasn’t found, it was put down as irregularity.

Total monetary value of the fraud that was detected £1,256,823

Well I expected it would be something, but £1.2 million in a year (compared to the size of Wirral Council’s budget and financial transactions isn’t too bad I suppose. So each fraud was on average for an amount of £17,701, but cost on average £2,239 per identified fraud case to investigate.

Total monetary value of the irregularity that was detected £409,311

I still don’t fully understand what irregularity means but there you go! Maybe someone can leave a comment and explain that!

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Responses

  1. It never ceases to amaze me what the council do or not especially on the investigation of fraud & the amounts involved.
    More importantly what was reclaimed from the fraudsters & more importantly what was the outcome by way of punishment of the fraudsters & was any of the miss claimed amounts recovered by the council.
    Answers on the back of a fag packet as usual & we are still awaiting the outcome to the BIG Business improvement grant fraud administered by Wirral council which nearly 4 years on has not been answered despite the efforts of Nigel Hobro & James Griffiths who were the whistle blowers.

    • No idea how much was reclaimed from the fraudsters.

      I too await the outcome of BIG investigations.

  2. “Irregularity” in this sense means when it was Investigated, Fraud was Identified/Detected, but they could not prove it. It is a way of massaging figures. They actually look better than they really are.

    In respect of Investigations, there are Investigations and Investigations. If you take the case of Mr G and Mr H, that in itself should have cost Serious Money, but I assume because it has only just been completed, that figure has not been included.

    I am indeed aware of other cases outstanding, the Pretend Friend has a lot to answer for!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Sorry do these figures include outside Investigators, Vehicle Use, Petrol Returns. On top of this, you would also have to factor in Use of outside Counsel and Solicitors, if Used. Preparation of Paperwork. Outside Agencies Payments, etc.

      • See this document and this one for the definitions.

        In answer to your question the definition is:

        “total amount spent by the authority on the investigation and prosecution of fraud” (Part 2.2 paragraph 43)

        So in other words that would include legal costs yes and the sorts of other costs you refer to.

    • I doubt it has been included given the fact that Garym Lambert left in early summer 2014. Most of his work re BIG, ISUS and Working Neighbourhoods was prior to January 2014. Thus the council excapes the mention of frauds going back to periods 2007-2011 which nI estimate at at least £2m.

      As You write Mr Harper we have been going on about this for several years. The reason is not the sum but the conspiracy to hide the fact it occurred.

      A liberal acknowledgement of the incompetence of the monitors , together with an admixture of puynishment adminstered to the characters involved such as Mr Paul Davies , Mr Lee Owen, Ms Linda Turnbull , Mr Michaerl Raworth, even Ms W McMahon , would indeed silence ourselves.

      • Yes I agree with you in that I think the time period of BIG/ISUS probably predates the year that these fraud figures are from.

    • Thanks for the explanation as to what irregularity means.

  3. Would it be churlish of me to mention that long experience in fraudulent behaviour and keeping one step ahead of accountability may equip Wirral’s officers very well when pinpointing crooked conduct?

    • Yes it would be, where’s your Christmas spirit? 🙂

  4. G’day John

    Three of my Heroes of Wirral on one THING.

    “Highbrow” you Paul Cardin my night is complete.

    Reprahpets who the **** are you to get amongst the cream of Wirral.

    Go on Reprahpets tell everyone who you are, I know.

    For an anonymous person you have far (nothing) too much to say.

    Ooroo

    James

    Ps They say they don’t understand accounting/auditing/fraud but they certainly know how to effing cheat.

    That is not an auditing teams asshole.

    God, I feel better now.

    Keep up the great work Paul, John and “Highbrow”.

    Reprahpets crawl back under your kidney stones.

    • Thanks for the compliment, I’m sure Paul and Highbrow appreciate the praise too.

  5. Thankyou, wirralbizz for the mention in your comments and again thankyou Mr G. If this were a Hypothetical Matter, What you are saying is that this matter is Fraud, Conspiracy to Commit Fraud and Perverting the Course of Justice, among other things. If you are correct and I say if, should it not have been reported to the Police?

    I am aware of the person you speak of and he tried the Magic and Charm on me, I told him politely what he should do ” This Gentleman (me) is not for Turning” From late 2012 until he left, along with others.

    • “What you sew, so shall you reap?”

      • Ps; Other things were happening earlier than that though. He did not think I knew. I could go off on an expletive Spree and the comment about Crawling under Stones, Kidney or otherwise I wonder where I have heard that before?

        • OK Rerahnehpets

          So you have been in our place and now you are sitting back all smug, just like “The Football Shirt” sitting looking up at that red shirt on his wall being an expert and never having succeeded.

          So, I take it you lost and now you are sitting back knowing all.

          Offering advice that your not willing to back up with a name.

          I know who you are.

          Merry Xmas

          Reppars

        • Oh people say all kinds of things to me, I’ve just learnt to have a thick skin.

      • Well to be fair to Wirral’s fraud/counter-fraud team. Although they can identify frauds or “irregularities”, it can be considerably more difficult to recover the money/ies.

        However the more open and transparent Wirral Council is the quicker it is to identify how such matters occur and try and do something to stop a repeat.

    • It was reported to the police. However the police won’t take it any further as a key piece of evidence that Wirral Council had is drum roll no longer available!

  6. Mr Brace will tell you I have only tried to help out on this and other matters, not for any gain on my part. No I have never been in the place where you were once employed. I do not put myself up as Smug and have never Succeeded. I would and have been prepared to help any Investigation if there is one, with any Information and provide a Statement and any Documents to back up what I say, as Joey would say ” Greetings ” Merry Xmas to you all and have a Very, Very Happy Season

    • Happy Christmas to one and all.

  7. Merry Xmas John to you and yours.

    God Bless

    Keep up the great work.

    • Thanks, Merry Christmas to you too (and yours). If you’re reading this is 2015, Happy New Year.


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