Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Council fraud team assigned to government work

THURROCK Council has announced its latest joint working initiative – carrying out specialist work for the government.

Council Leader, Cllr John Kent said: “Our counter fraud team is one of the best in the country and that has been recognised by the Ministry of Justice.”

He was speaking on the expected savings from shared services in the current financial year which was falling below expectations.

“We have now secured a two-year working arrangement with the ministry which will mean two of their Investigators will be seconded to us and work under the management and direction of our head of fraud,” he said.

“In addition, a payment of £78,000 will be made to us to pay for two of Thurrock’s Investigators.

“This is just another example of where we are leading and helping others – in this case the government itself – to follow in our footsteps.

“Shared services are the way forward. Pretty much everybody in government and local government accepts that is the case and I have always said we will share wherever it benefits the people of Thurrock.

“To quote the Prime Minister last week: ‘Where Essex goes so often the rest of the country follows’.”

He said: “In this latest case the benefits are manifold: in addition to the funding, our fraud service will have four extra investigators; and we will receive 37½ per cent of all the Proceeds of Crime confiscations made in Ministry of Justice cases that we handle.

“We will also have been recognised by the Justice Minister and the Cabinet Office as the only local authority which has the professional expertise to excel in the national Fraud, Error and Debt Strategy – leading the way in inter-governmental joint working to fight fraud.

“In addition, the joint-working arrangement will be used as a ‘best practice’ example by other government departments, possibly providing opportunities for further funding.”

Cllr Kent said: “The team has also been working a four-month trial with Southend, again their service under the direction of our fraud manager.

“Southend have said they now wish to make this trial more permanent and want to put its entire fraud service under secondment to Thurrock – providing half the funding of the manager’s post.”

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