Dear Dumfries and Galloway Council,
This relates to your response to a previous request which can be seen here:
You state that you do not maintain records of fraud allegations. What is your statutory authority for this please?
Who has overall responsibility for internal fraud in Dumfries and Galloway Council?
Have the auditors used by the council agreed to this policy?
How does it comply with your official duty to protect public funds? Who has sanctioned this approach?
What happens about incidents where there is established fraud under £5000?
How many cases of established fraud under £5000 have been identified? What happened to remedy matters? Were any cases reported to Police Scotland? Who decided that fraud cases under £5000 would be ignored and no action taken?
Were any employees, or councillors, interviewed about fraud in the last 5 years?
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (SCOTLAND) ACT 2002
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Dear Dumfries and Galloway Council,
Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.
I am writing to request an internal review of Dumfries and Galloway Council's handling of my FOI request 'Council policy on internal Fraud.'.
This request was made on 10 April 2019 and the time limit for reply is 20 days. This has been breached and the information should be supplied without further delay.
A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...
The following response was sent on the 13 May 2019
Q. You state that you do not maintain records of fraud allegations. What is your statutory authority for this please?
A. There is no statutory requirement on the Council to keep records of fraud allegations made. However, allegations received are reviewed by senior managers for the relevant Services and if there is evidence of wrong-doing, an independent investigation takes place and records of an substantiated fraud allegations are maintained. If the investigation concludes there is a fraud case to answer, a complaint is made to the Police Service of Scotland. Internal disciplinary procedures are also invoked where one or more employees may be involved. All fraud cases of any value must be reported to the Council?s internal auditors who in turn report all cases over £5,000 to the Council's external auditors. Records of such reports to the internal auditors and external auditors are maintained for 3 years.
Q. Who has overall responsibility for internal fraud in Dumfries and Galloway Council?
A. The responsibility for preventing, detecting, investigating and reporting fraud and other financial irregularities rests with Service Management. Oversight of policies relating to fraud and corruption and of the progress and outcome of fraud investigations undertaken within the Council is provided by the Council's Integrity Group, chaired by the Director of Economy and Resources. (This Group has been operating since September 2018.)
Q. Have the auditors used by the council agreed to this policy?
A. The Council's policies are set out in the Corporate Anti-Fraud and Anti-Corruption Policy Statement and Strategy (copy attached). The Council's external auditors are familiar with this document.
Q. How does it comply with your official duty to protect public funds? Who has sanctioned this approach?
A. The Council takes its responsibilities for the use and protection of public money very seriously as stated in the Corporate Anti-Fraud and Anti-Corruption Policy Statement and Strategy, which was approved by the Council's Policy and Resources Committee on 14 June 2018. The Council treats all reports of fraud extremely seriously and would report any fraud to Police Scotland.
Q. What happens about incidents where there is established fraud under £5000?
A. In terms of handling fraud allegations and the procedures used, there is no difference based on value. The distinction between above and below £5,000 only occurs in what is formally reported to the Council's external auditors.
Q. How many cases of established fraud under £5000 have been identified? What happened to remedy matters? Were any cases reported to Police Scotland? Who decided that fraud cases under £5000 would be ignored and no action taken?
A. No fraud cases are ignored ? the procedure is the same irrespective of value. In the last 3 years, which is the period for which records are kept, no fraud cases above or below £5,000 have been reported to internal audit. In the last 3 years, no fraud cases have been the subject of a complaint to Police Scotland by the Council.
Q. Were any employees, or councillors, interviewed about fraud in the last 5 years?
A. We only keep records of interviews when a fraud has been substantiated or a complaint has been made to Police Scotland. And there are no such records for the last three years.