Fraud cost council employees their jobs

Local elections. May 2008.'Graham Stokes. Labour. Knottingley.'w3843c819
Local elections. May 2008.'Graham Stokes. Labour. Knottingley.'w3843c819
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Three council employees lost their jobs last year following investigations into the alleged fraud of more than £100,000 of public money.

Wakefield Council’s internal audit report said allegations of fraud, involving the theft of council assets and cash, forged cheques and financial mismanagement within schools, had been investigated over the last 12 months.

It said £50,000 was defrauded in the largest individual case, and there were attempts to steal £28,500 using bogus cheques.

The report, which will be discussed by a cabinet committee on Tuesday, also revealed that 24 fraudulent and 62 erroneous overpayments of benefits to council employees had been unearthed, totalling £45,000.

Three cases were still being investigated at the time the report was published.

The audit concluded that fraud control measures were “adequate”.

But it urged the council to improve its level of management supervision and financial management in schools, and complete a corporate fraud risk assessment.

The report added: “It should be noted that a number of areas subject to audit review required improvements to be made to internal control and risk management arrangements.”

The report said organisations were at a higher than normal risk of fraud due to the recession.

But it said levels of fraud within the council had decreased from 2011–12 and were relatively low considering the size of the organisation.

A council spokeswoman said some of the money involved in the cases had been recovered, and it was expected that the rest would eventually be recovered.

Coun Graham Stokes, pictured, cabinet member for corporate performance, said: “Despite our exceptionally low level of fraud, we are committed to addressing any areas of improvement identified by the committee and will continue to do whatever we can to improve our resilience to fraud.”