Uni online tool to root out council fraudsters

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LOCAL government fraud through council tax avoidance and other scams will be hit harder thanks to a new online programme designed by experts at the University of Portsmouth.

The fraud resilience tool – the first of its kind in the world – allows councils to assess how well they are protected against fraud.

Users are asked to answer 29 questions to determine how resilient their organisation is to fraud – and their score is ranked against data held by the university and its partners PKF Accountants and Business Advisers on 430 other organisations.

Dr Mark Button, director of the university’s centre for counter fraud studies, said: ‘Measuring the scope and type of fraud allows councils to identify where the most damage is being done financially and help them tackle the problem.

‘It is hoped this new tool will help them fight the most prevalent types of fraud.’

About £2bn is lost to local government fraud each year, and the programme will be available to all authorities.