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FLINTSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL 
Fraud and Irregularity Response Plan 


DRAFT - yj^-A-2- December June-2019 


(with Tracked Changes) 







Flintshire County Council— 


Fraud R e spons e and Irregularity Response Plan 


Contents 


1 . 

Introduction 

2 

2. 

Objectives 

2 

3. 

Whistleblowing Policy 

2 

4. 

Responsibilities 

3 

5. 

What Happens Next? 

5 

6. 

How will the Investigation Proceed? 

6 

7. 

Investigation Outcome (Recovery and Sanctions) 

6 

8. 

Conclusion 

8 

9. 

Monitoring 

8 

10 . 

Response Plan Flow Chart 

9 


Policy Owners 

Internal Audit Manaaer 

Date Implemented 

April 2007 

Date Last Reviewed 

November 2014 

Current Review: 

Approved bv Audit Committee ( Version 1.7) 

February 2019 

Approved bv Constitution and Democratic Services 

June 2019 

Committee ( Version 1.8) 


Approved bv Council (Version 2) 



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Flintshire County Council— 


Fraud R e spons e and Irregularity Response Plan 


1. Introduction 

1.1 This document provides guidance to all employees (including centrally employed 

teachers) of Flintshire County Council (as defined by the Employment Rights Act) and 

is commended to School Governing Bodies and other associated employers as best 

practice e.q. NEWydd, Aura. The document also applies to Third Party individuals 

(Partners, Consultants, Suppliers, Volunteers, Contractor and employees of 

Council suppliers and contractors, who are employed to deliver a service / 

goods to the Council) This docum e nt prov i d e s guidanc e to , and e mp l oy ee sstaff 
and manag e m e nt in th e e v e nt of th e ir b e coming awar e of, or susp e ct i ng a fraud 

or corrupt act b e ing committ e d in F l intshir e by a Counc il M e mb e r, m e mb e r of 

staff, contractor or a supp l i e r. 

1.2 A one page flowchart is also included at the end of this document, to provide 
an at-a-glance summary of the process. 

1.3 The plan is not intended for use where there is suspicion of child abuse. Where 
concerns are noted in relation to child protection, these should be referred in 
the first instance to the Duty and Assessment Team, Social Services on 01352 
701000 for a preliminary discussion. Additionally if concerns raised relate to 
modern slavery and trafficking or any safeguarding issues please contact Social 

Services on 01352 701053 (Children) or 01352 702540 (Adults). 


2. Objectives 

2.1 The objectives of this a fraud Fraud and irr e gu l arity Irregularity r e spons e 
Response p lan- Plan are to ensure that timely and effective action can be taken 
to: 


• e nsur e establish there is a clear understanding over who will lead any 
investigation and to ensure local managers, Internal Audit and People and 
Resources are involved as appropriate; 

• prevent further losses of funds or other assets where fraud has occurred 
and maximise recovery of losses; 

• e nsur e demonstrate there is substance and evidence to support any 
allegation against an employee before that employee is subject to 
disciplinary action; 

• minimise the risk of inappropriate action or disclosure taking place which 
would compromise an investigation or recovery of losses; 

• secure evidence and e nsur e containment of any information or knowledge 
of any investigation into the matter reported; 

• identify the perpetrators and maximise the success of any disciplinary / 
legal action taken.^and 


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Flintshire County Council— 


Fraud R e spons e and Irregularity Response Plan 


3. Whistleblowing Policy 

3.1 If you prefer to raise your concerns confidentially the Council has a 

Whistleblowing Policy (available on the infonet) in accordance with the 

provisions of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. The policy provides the 

individual with a method of raising concerns about any financial or other 

malpractice in the Council. 

3.2 Under that policy, if you ask us to protect your identity by keeping your 

confidence, we will not disclose it without your consent apart from exceptional 

cases. For example this could be in cases when the person raising the concerns 

will need to provide a statement and potentially appear as a witness in 

subseguent legal proceedings, or may be reguired to give evidence in a 

disciplinary hearing. It is also possible that the investigation itself may serve to 

reveal the source of information, although this will be avoided where possible. 

3.3 Subject to the constraints of Data Protection Legislation and the Council’s duty 

of confidentiality to the workforce staff and Councillors, we will give you as much 

feedback as we properly can within an agreed timescale. 


4. Employ ee Responsibilities 

4.1 As an e mp l oy ee individual (employee, member or third party individual of the 
Council) , there are a number of actions you may be required to take depending 
on who is involved in the fraud or irregularity corruption . You should remember, 
however, that when you know of or suspect a fraud or irregular eofmet ac^ you 
must not discuss it with other individuals or work colleagues either before or 
after reporting it to the appropriate person so that the investigation is not 
compromised. 

4.2 An irregularity is an administrative or financial mismanagement that comes 

about either by act or omission. 

4.32 You should never confront the suspected individual or act in a manner which 
might draw their attention to your suspicions. 

4.42 At the earliest opportunity you should clearly record all the activities you have 
witnessed and information you have received or are aware of. It is important to 
record as much information as possible to inform any subsequent management 
assessment or investigation, including dates, times and sequences of events. 

Suspected Fraud by another Council Employee 

4.54 As an employee i ff a work colleague is giving rise to suspicions that she / he is 
committing a fraudulent or corrupt act within the Authority, then under normal 
circumstances you should report it to your line manager. However, you may 


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Fraud R e spons e and Irregularity Response Plan 


not wish to report to your line manager, particularly if you suspect them of 
committing a fraud or corrupt act, or having an involvement in what you have 
observed. Therefore, the option exists to report your concerns to any of the 
following officers: 


• Your line Manager’s Manager^ 

• Your Chief Officerf 

• The Internal Audit Manager 

In addition, suspicions can be reported to your Trade Union, see Para 4. 

Suspected Fraud by an Elected Member 

4.6§ If you need to report a suspicion^-o^an actual fraud or corrupt act by a 
Councillor, you should report this to one of the following officers in the Council: 


• The Chief Officer Governance, who is the Council’s Monitoring Officer^ 

• The Internal Audit Manager 


Suspected Fraud by a 
or a memb e r Member of the pufetioPublic 


, supp lie r Supplier , Volunteer 


4.7§ If the fraud or corrupt act is being committed in your Service area, then under 
normal circumstances you should report your concerns to your line manager. 
If your suspicions do not relate directly to your area, then you should not ignore 
the information you have, but should report the matter directly to the Internal 
Audit Manager. This could include information that comes into your possession 
through your profession or social life. 

Whist le b l owing policy 


- If you pr e f e r to ra i s e your conc e rns confid e nt i a ll y th e Counci l has a 

Whist le b l owing po l icy (avai l ab le on th e intran e t) in accordanc e with th e 

provisions of th e Pub l ic I nt e r e st Disc l osur e Act 1998. Th e po l icy provid e s 

e mp l oy ee sstaff with a m e thod of raising conc e rns about any financia l or oth e r 

ma l practic e in th e Counci l . 


- Und e r that po li cy, i f you ask us to prot e ct your id e nt i ty by k ee p i ng your 

confid e nc e , w e w ill not disc l os e it without your cons e nt apart from e xc e pt i ona l 

cas e s. For e xamp le this cou l d b e in cas e s wh e n th e p e rson raising th e conc e rns 

wi ll n ee d to prov i d e a stat e m e nt and pot e ntia ll y app e ar as a w i tn e ss i n 

subs e qu e nt le ga l proc ee dings, or may b e r e qu i r e d to giv e e vid e nc e in a 

discip l inary h e aring. It is a l so possib le that th e inv e stigation its el f may s e rv e to 

r e v e a l th e sourc e of information, a l though this wi ll b e avoid e d wh e r e possib le . 


843- Subj e ct to th e constraints of Data Prot e ction le gis l ation and th e Counci l ’s duty 

of confid e ntia l ity to e mp l oy ee sstaff and Counci ll ors, w e wi ll giv e you as much 

f ee dback as w e prop e r l y can within an agr ee d tim e sca le . 


4.8 5 Members Trad e Union Rote Responsibilities 


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Fraud R e spons e and Irregularity Response Plan 


4.8 Where Members come into possession of information which may indicate that 

a fraudulent or corrupt act is being perpetrated against Flintshire County 

Council, they must report this to either the Chief Executive, the Internal Audit 

Manager, the relevant Chief Officer, or the Council’s Monitoring Officer 

(Chief Officer Governance). The officer in receipt of the report should ensure 

that any subsequent investigation follows the requirements of this fraud 

response plan. 

4.9 Under no circumstances should a Member discuss a suspected fraud with other 

Members or the press 

Shou l d any e mp l oy ee who is a m e mb e r of a r e cognis e d Trad e Union hav e any 

conc e rns r e garding th e ir own b e haviour, or that of oth e rs, in r el ation to any 

pot e ntia l fraudu le nt activity th e n th e y can s ee k advic e and assistanc e from th e ir 

Trad e Union. 

§4?- Whi l st discussions b e tw ee n th e Trad e Union m e mb e rs and th e ir Trad e Union 

ar e confid e nt i a l , th e disc l osur e of any pot e ntia l fraudu le nt activity to a Trad e 

Union Officia l wi ll r e su l t in it b e ing disc l os e d to th e Organisation for th e m to 

inv e stigat e it fu ll y. Disc l osur e of information to th e Trad e Unions wi ll prot e ct th e 

id e ntity of th e individua l making th e disc l osur e and th e y wi ll of cours e r e c e iv e 

th e fu ll support of th e ir Trad e Union throughout th e e nsuing proc e ss. 

4 .96. Trad e Un i on M e mb e rs R e sponsib il it ie s 

- Shou l d any e mp l oy ee who i s a m e mb e r of a r e cogn i s e d Trad e Un i on hav e any 

co nc e rns r e gard i ng th ei r own b e hav i our, or that of oth e rs, i n r el at i on to -any 

pote nt i a l fraudu le nt act i v i ty th e n th e y can s ee k advic e and assistanc e from t heir 

Tr ad e Union. 


Wh il st d i scuss i ons b e tw ee n th e Trad e Un i on m e mb e r and th ei r Trad e Un i on 

are conf i d e nt i a l , th e d i sc l osur e of any pot e nt i a l fraudu le nt act i v i ty to a T rade 

Uai on Off i c i a l w ill r e su l t i n i t b ei ng d i sc l os e d to th e Organ i sat i on for th e m to 

in v e stigat e i t fu ll y. D i sc l osur e of i nformat i on to th e Trad e Un i ons w ill prot e ct th e 

ide nt i ty of th e i nd i vidua l making th e disc l osur e and th e y w ill r e c ei v e th e fu ll 

su pport of th e ir Trad e Union throughout th e e nsuing proc e ss Wh e r e M e mbers 

com e into poss e ssion of information which may indicat e that a fraudu le nt or 

corrupt act is b e ing p e rp e trat e d against F l intshir e County Counci l , th e y must 

r e port this to e ith e r th e Chi e f Ex e cutiv e , th e I nt e rnal Audit Manag e r, th e 

r e l e vant Chi e f Offic e r, or th e Counc il ’s Mon i toring Offic e r (Chi e f Offic e r 

Governance). Th e offic e r in r e c e ipt of th e r e port shou l d e nsur e that any 

subs e qu e nt inv e stigation fo ll ows th e r e quir e m e nts of this fraud r e spons e p l an. 

§4?- Und e r no circumstanc e s shou l d a M e mb e r discuss a susp e ct e d fraud with oth e r 

M e mb e rs or th e pr e ss. 

4t4-Q7 t Third Party Responsibilities (Partners, Consultants, Suppliers, 

Contractors, Volunteers and employees of these) 

7 4.10 Where a Third Party comes into possession of information which may indicate 

that a fraudulent or corrupt act is being perpetrated against Flintshire County 

Council, they must report this to either the Chief Executive, the Internal Audit 


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Manager, the relevant Chief Officer, or the Council’s Monitoring Officer (Chief 

Officer Governance). 

4 .11 8 Manag e m e nt’s Senior Accountable Officers Rote Responsibilities 

684 4.11 As soon as a complaint or an allegation is received by a manager 
(including referrals made by Members as in 4.1), it is their responsibility to 
inform the Internal Audit Manager in accordance with Finance Procedure Rule 
4.3 11.17( e ) and People and Resources (where the allegation relates to an 
employee m e mb e r of staff ) to undertake an initial risk assessment of the facts. 
This enquiry should be carried out as quickly as possible, with the objectives of 
either substantiating or repudiating the allegation that has been made. 

68.2 4.12. At no time during the preliminary investigation should the manager 
confront the alleged suspect, nor put evidence at risk. Under no circumstances 
should a manager discuss a suspected employee fraud with other staff 
members or peer managers. 

4.13. 68.3 If there are suspicions that similar frauds are or could be being 
committed the situation should be discussed with the Internal Audit Manager. 

Trade Union Responsibilities 

4.14 Should any employee who is a member of a recognised Trade Union have any 

concerns regarding their own behaviour, or that of others, in relation to any 

potential fraudulent activity then they can seek advice and assistance from their 

Trade Union. 


4.15 Whilst discussions between the Trade Union member and their Trade Union 

are confidential, the disclosure of any potential fraudulent activity to a Trade 

Union Official will result in it being disclosed to the Organisation for them to 

investigate it fully. Disclosure of information to the Trade Unions will protect the 

identity of the individual making the disclosure and they will receive the full 

support of their Trade Union throughout the ensuing process 

5 

7S. What will Hhappen next Next ? 

795.1 After the initial assessment has been carried out and where evidence suggests 
there is a potential fraud or irregularity, a detailed investigation will need to be 
undertaken. Depending on the nature of the allegation the options for this will 
be 


• Appoint an Investigating Officer; this will usually be a senior officer in the 
relevant service and will be appointed action e d by People and Resources. 
He/she will carry out the investigation (for investigations under the 
disciplinary policy) in conjunction with People and Resources; 


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• Internal Audit carry out the investigation (for all fraud related investigations) 
in conjunction with the Investigating Officer; 

• The matter is referred to the Police (in conjunction with Internal Audit where 
required); 

• The matter is referred to an external agency for investigation ecke.g. 
Housing Benefit fraudr or National Anti-Fraud Network (NAFN). 


640. How will the inv e stigation — Investigation 

proc ee d Proceed ? 

6.1404- Every case is unique. The Internal Audit Manager will work with the 
appointed Investigating Officer and People and Resources to ensure the most 
appropriate course of action is taken. 

Considerations will include: 

• The preparation of an investigation plan; 

• The potential requirement to suspend a member of staff, in accordance with 
the Council’s Disciplinary Procedure, while the investigation is undertaken; 

• The need to secure evidence (including documents, computer records, 
CCTV recordings tap e s, ete etc.) ; 

• The commissioning of specialist services from both within and outside the 
Council (e.g. surveillance experts, forensic IT specialists, specific service 
areas or subject matter experts); 

• Carrying out interviews to gather information and witness statements (any 
interviews must be conducted fairly and will, where possible, be tape- 
recorded); 

•_ Potential referral to other internal or external agencies, e.g. Housing Benefit 
Fraud team, the Department for Work & Pensions, the Police, Standards 
Committee . National Anti-Fraud Networks 

• Consider whether RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) approval 

is reguired. This is usually where surveillance needs to be undertaken^ and 

• Advise and assist management in implementing new procedures and 

internal controls where necessary. 


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Fraud R e spons e and Irregularity Response Plan 


744. Investigation outcom e s Outcomes (Recovery and 

Sanctions) 

Allegations against an Eemployee 

7.144t 4 If an allegation is substantiated following an investigation, the 
disciplinary process will be instigated. 

7.244-7$ At the same time, if there is evidence that fraud has been committed 
against the Council, the Internal Audit Manager will formally consider referring 
the matter to the Police (if not already done so at initial assessment stage), and 
liaise with them over whether formal charges will be brought and an 
investigation taken forward to possible prosecution. A referral to the Police will 
be carried out, normally following consultation with the H e ad of Senior 
Manager, Human Resources and Organisational Chi e f Off i c e rs for P e op le & 
R e sourc e s, andth e Development, the Chief Officer Governance and the Chief 
Executive . 

7.344-r3 In appropriate circumstances the Council will consider taking civil action 
against the accused employee to recover any debt caused as a result of their 
actions. 

Allegation against a Councillor 

7AM-A Any allegations which are substantiated against a Councillor will be 
considered under their cod e Code of conduct Conduct by the Council’s 
Monitoring Officer and could result in a referral to the standards committee, 
Public Service Ombudsman for Wales or the Police. 

Allegation against a Ccontractor or Ssupplier 

7.544-r5 If an allegation of fraud against the Council by a contractor or supplier is 
substantiated, it will be referred to the police and may result in prosecution. 

7.644-7$ In addition to the criminal route, wherever applicable, the action taken by 
the Council will also follow a civil route, in order to recover assets or monies 
obtained by the potential offender. 

External Audit 

744-.7 In some cases it may be necessary to immediately inform the Council’s External 
Auditor of the fraud or corruption. This will be the responsibility of the Internal 
Audit Manager. 

Audit Committee 

744-. 8 Except in special circumstances, after taking into consideration issues of 
confidentiality, fraud investigations will normally be reported in outline to the 
Audit Committee every quarter. Where it would be proper to do so, the Chair of 


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the Audit Committee will be briefed immediately with any sensitive/serious 
matters. 

744-. 9 Any variation from the approved Ffraud and f lrreqularit\ r e spons e Response 
pfaftPlan, together with reasons for the variation, will be reported to the Audit 
Committee where it would be appropriate to do so. 

Press and Publicity 

744^J0 The Business and Corporat e Communications Team will deal with the 

press and publicity in all matters regarding fraud and corruption. Where 
appropriate,, the details of all successful prosecutions for fraud will be released 
to the media through the Business and Corporat e Communications Team. Such 
disclosures will maintain the confidentiality of the initial referral. Staff^-aad 
Managers or Members must not directly disclose to the press the details of any 
cases suspected or under investigation. 

74441 Disclosure of details to the media without the express authority of the 
Business and Corporat e Communications Team could be regarded as a 
disciplinary matter. The aim is to publicise the Council’s intolerance of fraud or 
corruption both within the Council and by users of its services. It also serves to 
publicise our successes against those who would perpetrate such fraud or 
corruption against the Council. 


84 2 . Conclusion 

8.1424- The Fraud and Irregularity Response Plan for the Council’s Workforce, 
Service Teams and Senior Accountable Officers Emp l oy ee sStaff —aad 
Manag e m e nt , is part of a number of policies listed below (s e e app e nd i x a) 
which i n conjunction w i th th e Anti-Fraud and Corruption Strat e gy, th e 

Whist le b l owing Po l icy, th e Cod e s of Conduct (Emp l oy ee s and M e mb e rs), th e 

Pros e cution Po l icy and th e Emp l oy ee Discip l inary Po l icy wi ll supports the 
Council’s objectives in countering and investigating corporate fraud and 
corruption. 

• Anti-Fraud and Corruption Strategy 

• Whistleblowing Policy 

• Codes of Conduct (StafT Officers and Members) 

• Prosecution Policy 

• Employee Disciplinary Policy 

• Code of Corporate Governance 

• Financial Procedure Rules 

• Contract Procedure Rules 

• - M e mb e rs Cod e of Conduct 

• - Emp l oy ee s Cod e of Conduct 


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Fraud R e spons e and Irregularity Response Plan 


However no guidance such as this can be expected to cover all eventualities 
and, therefore, if you have any issues or are unsure of the action to take in a 
given situation you should immediately contact the Internal Audit Manager. 


94^._ R e vi e w of Fraud and I rr e gularity R e spons e 
Rlan Monitorinq 

9.14£y4 The Fraud and Irregularity Response Plan will be subject to annual 
review and update. 

9.2 All related policies such as the Whistleblowing Policy and Anti-Fraud and 

Corruption Strategy can be found on the Council’s Website ana the Infonet 


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Fraud R e spons e and Irregularity Response Plan 


Response Plan 



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