Distribution of correspondence concerning fraud allegations
Dear North East Lincolnshire Council,
I would like NELC to disclose who or what department dealt with the correspondence below , sent on Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 1:00 PM:
From: fFaudwAtch UK
Cc: Tony.Maione@Nelincs ; rob.walsh@nelincs; Res - Customer Services
Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2016 1:00 PM
Subject: False statement to defraud through council tax liability application
Dear Mr Hanmer
FALSE STATEMENT TO DEFRAUD THROUGH COUNCIL TAX LIABILITY APPLICATION
North East Lincolnshire Council is already aware through being alerted in a formal complaint regarding one of it's employees (Court Enforcement officer) committing a fraud offence against me.
In brief, the council made an application to Grimsby Magistrates' court to obtain a Council Tax liability order relating to Council Tax (2015/16). Payments were made in sufficient amount to meet the legal obligation to pay the sums set out on the demand notice and so my account was never in arrears.
The Council engineered a 'non-payment' scenario, by allocating monies to a disputed sum which related to a previous year's account that was under appeal to the High Court. That sum was suspended pending the court's decision which has yet to be concluded. The council allocate monies to the wrong account attributing that decision to believing that the sum was no longer being disputed because the appeal had been withdrawn. I have evidence to support that this claim (included in the witness statement) was untrue, not on account of it never being withdrawn (though it hasn't), but specifically because it is beyond all reasonable doubt that the council knew it had not been withdrawn. The council officer had therefore wilfully made a statement material in the proceeding, which he knew was not true.
The Corporate Feedback procedure was evidently not the appropriate avenue to have the criminal element of my complaint dealt with as the Council flatly refused to address it, asserting that the concerns raised fell outside the scope of the complaints process. The Chief Executive, Rob Walsh must be ultimately responsible as he is aware of the criminal allegations and has not, to my knowledge, acted on them. The letter accompanying the final response to the complaint signed by the Chief Executive contained the following statement (Ref: NEL/1172/1516):
"The enclosed investigating officer's report details the findings of this investigation which I consider has been correctly and fairly carried out in accordance with the Council's Feedback Policy."
I have since made enquiries into the Council’s policy on fraud and now aware of the approach it takes in dealing with these matters. I have accessed the relevant documents, whistleblowing policy, anti fraud framework and the fraud response plan etc. Given that my complaint alleged fraud and the council refused to address it, details should have been referred to the Audit, Risk, Insurance and Corporate Fraud team immediately in accordance with the 'Fraud Response Plan' (see relevant para below):
"Complaints officers should consider all allegations of irregularity that may be included in a complaint or comment and refer all cases to the Audit, Risk, Insurance and Corporate Fraud team immediately on receipt. Allegations of this nature should be treated through this policy rather than the corporate complaints procedure as the timetable for investigating and reporting on complaints does not apply to complaints of financial misconduct."
I assume the policy was not adhered to as I've not been notified of commencement of an investigation or whether the matter has been referred to the police. However, I suspect the council has not informed the police as my own contact with the force has led to no evidence that that is the case.
Though it is unlikely any action has been taken concerning this matter, I would like informing of what steps the council has taken, if in fact I have assumed wrongly.
In any event, please take this email as an instruction for an investigation to be carried out in accordance with the council's whistleblowing policy. For your information I have instituted proceedings pursuant to s.1 of the Magistrates' courts Act 1980 in this matter and a hearing is set for 29 April 2016 for the evidence to be considered by the court.
In addition, please find attached documents (listed below) which when accompanied by the council's witness statement and exhibit documents, re 30 October 2015 court hearing, will be all the evidence required. In accordance with the council's Fraud Response Plan I would expect, subject to legal constraints, that I'm informed about how the matter is being addressed.
1. Perjury to Commit Fraud - 2 Dec 15 ( http://tinyurl.com/p233lzt )
2. 7 Nov 2015 – ocj-complaint-0913 (See from heading Annex A to C) https://www.scribd.com/doc/288873729/Jud...
3. Section 1 Magistrates court complaint - draft ( http://tinyurl.com/zoolbd6 )
Dear Sir / Madam
I am pleased to acknowledge your request for information, which has been
allocated the reference number NEL/1953/1617.
Your request has been passed to the relevant department for processing and
you can expect your response within the 20 working day limit. If it will
take us longer than 20 working days to respond to you, we will inform you
of this and provide you with the expected date for receiving a response.
Further information about how we will deal with your Freedom of
Information requests is available on our website at:
Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or
assistance quoting the reference number above.
Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council
Dear Mr Gilliatt
Thank you for your information request reference 1953_1617. I can confirm
that North East Lincolnshire Council holds the following information.
It would not be appropriate to discuss the specifics of any private
correspondence with the Council in response to an information request,
made under the Freedom Of Information Act.
To ensure Freedom of Information is effective both for applicants in
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Council in its use of resources for handling and responding to requests,
we would refer you to the Information Commissioner’s website which
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Link to the guidance on the Information Commissioner’s website:
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What you should not do when making a request
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We do consider this request to be potentially vexatious in nature with no
serious intention to obtain information held by North East Lincolnshire
Council and ask that you read and take account of the guidance above taken
from the Information Commissioners website. In particular you should note
the point as to “… whether making a request is the best way of achieving
what you want. If you have an underlying complaint then it may be better
to just take your complaint to the relevant ombudsman and let them
investigate.” The correspondence you refer to will be responded to as
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an internal review, please contact me and I will make the necessary
Yours sincerely on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council