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Counter fraud, bribery and corruption

Counter Fraud and Enforcement Unit 

The Council is required by law to protect the public funds it administers, to prevent and detect fraud and deter bribery and corruption in all areas of the Council’s work. 

The Council employs dedicated Counter Fraud and Enforcement Officers to investigate allegations of fraud and abuse and to assist in maximising revenue and loss avoidance.

The Counter Fraud and Enforcement Unit is a shared service which provides specialist officers to investigate all allegations of internal and external fraud. This can include abuse and misconduct by staff or Councillors as well as external attempts by the general public; such as housing and tenancy fraud, council tax support and discount fraud, misuse of grant funding and other financial loss to the Council.

In addition to the Counter Fraud and Enforcement Unit, there are other officers employed within the Council who are charged with enforcement relating to environmental crime such as fly tipping and breaches of planning regulations which the team support and assist with.

National

If you suspect you have been the target or victim of a scam you can report it to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040.

More information relating to email or text messaging scams can be obtained from the National Cyber Security Centre at www.ncsc.gov.uk.

Report suspected fraud to the Council

To report any allegations of fraud or misuse of public funds, for example claiming false Council Tax discounts, Business Rates avoidance, benefit fraud, false housing applications, the subletting of a social housing property or any application for financial assistance you can:

  • Fill in a referral form here or;
  • Phone the fraud hotline in confidence on 01242 264215 or;
  • Write to: Counter Fraud and Enforcement Unit, Cheltenham Borough Council, Municipal Offices, Promenade, Cheltenham, GL50 9SA. (Please use this address for all matters relating to Cheltenham Borough Council, Cotswold District Council, Forest of Dean District Council, Tewkesbury Borough Council and West Oxfordshire District Council).

All reports will be investigated and any information provided will be treated as strictly confidential.

You can make anonymous reports however, you can only be protected if you provide details of your identity.

Report internal fraud

If you are an employee and you wish to report fellow employees, Councillors or contractors/agency staff, please view the Whistleblowing Policy and refer to the list of national whistleblowing prescribed bodies.

Policies

To view all of our Policies please visit the Council's Policies and Strategies page which can be found here.

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000 and Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) 2016

RIPA regulates the way in which public bodies undertake surveillance, both directly and online, and use covert human intelligence sources (undercover officers). It also ensures there is independent judicial oversight.

IPA now governs communication data requests. Communication data can include the address to which a letter is sent, the time and duration of a communication, the telephone number or email address of the originator and recipient, and the location of the device from which the communication was made. It covers electronic communications including internet access, internet telephony, instant messaging and the use of applications. It also includes postal services. It does not include the content of any communication. It is not lawfully possible for Council employees under any circumstances to obtain the content of communications

The Council’s Policies are based on the legislative requirements of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 and the Codes of Practice. Human rights implications are a consideration of this type of activity and this is included within the Policies to ensure that there are no breaches of an individual’s right to privacy. The Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office (IPCO) oversee the Council’s activities and any complaints can be made to the IPCO at https://www.ipco.org.uk/.

To view the Council’s Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Surveillance and Covert Human Intelligence Source Policy, Investigatory Powers Act 2016 Acquisition of Communications Data Policy and Policy for the Use of the Internet and Social Media in Enforcement click here.

Any activity of this type must be documented and authorised by nominated officers and is reported annually to Audit and General Purposes Committee.

If you have any queries, the designated RIPA Coordinator for the Council can be contacted within the Counter Fraud and Enforcement Unit at fraud.referrals@cotswold.gov.uk.

Data

Please see below for the data about our counter fraud activities which is published annually:

Data matching and National Fraud Initiative (NFI)

The Counter Fraud and Enforcement Unit carries out data matching exercises to help prevent and detect fraud and ensure the Council is providing efficient and cost effective services to the public. 

Data matching involves comparing computer records held by one body or Council department against other computer records held by the same organisation or another body to either confirm records or identify inconsistencies. The data matched may contain personal information.

We participate in the Cabinet Office’s National Fraud Initiative, which is a data matching exercise to help prevent and detect fraud nationwide.

The use of data by the Cabinet Office in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority under Part 6 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. It does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under the Data Protection legislation. For details of the code of practice for the data matching and the Cabinet office's legal powers, please view:

In addition the council may also conduct its own matching of records within the council and with partners for prevention and detection of fraud and the assessment and collection of taxes and debts.

If you would like to know more about how we use your personal information see our privacy notice.