Combating fraud: team expands operations

Published: Thursday, 19th July 2018

With a proven track record of countering public sector fraud in both the city and further afield, Oxford City Council's Fraud Investigation Team is now additionally working with Cherwell District Council and South Northamptonshire Council to prevent and detect fraud and irregularity.

Cllr Ed Turner, Oxford City Council's Board member for Finance and Asset Management, said: "The City Council has long been committed to countering public sector fraud in all its aspects. We decided to invest in a dedicated, professional investigation service when many other councils were cutting back theirs. The result has been not only beneficial for Oxford but it also means we have been able to offer our services to other public bodies.

"Defrauding public funds deprives those who are in need and who are genuinely entitled. I'm sure that this new partnership with Cherwell District Council and South Northamptonshire Council will prove beneficial and result in a reduction in fraud in both districts."

In 2017/18 the Investigation Team saved Oxford City Council £3.5 million, recovered 11 social housing properties that were in the hands of non-authorised occupants, prevented 27 false or irregular applications for housing from progressing, and sifted out 33 fraudulent right-to-buy applications.

The multi-award winning service has worked with external partners since 2014, providing counter fraud services and data matching expertise for other councils, public bodies and to the private sector. These include Oxfordshire County Council, Warwick District Council, South Oxfordshire and the Vale of the White Horse District Councils and a number of registered providers of social housing.

Anyone wanting to report a suspected fraud against Oxford City Council, Cherwell District Council, or South Northamptonshire Council can contact the Investigation Team on 01865 252333 or email fraud@oxford.gov.uk