If you suspect that someone is fraudulently claiming Council Tax reduction we would like to hear from you. Any information that you provide will be treated in confidence.

Council Tax reduction 

To make a report you can:

The more information you give us, the better chance we have of conducting a successful investigation.

Housing benefit 

If you believe someone is fraudulently claiming housing benefits or any other social security benefit you can either:

What happens to your report

  1. The benefits investigation team will decide if there is enough information to begin an investigation.
  2. They will gather information from a wide range of sources to establish the facts. 
  3. If it is appropriate, they will then take action such as withdrawing benefits or starting a criminal prosecution.
  4. If they find that the person has committed an offence, that person is then invited to attend a formal interview under caution.

We can’t comment on cases under investigation, so we will not be able to update you on how the investigation is proceeding.

Changes in circumstances

You could be held responsible for paying back any overpayments if you don’t tell us about changes in your circumstances. 

Fraud investigation

Our team of investigators are responsible for undertaking both reactive and proactive fraud investigations. This includes the investigation of:

  • fraud committed externally against the Council such as housing fraud, blue badge and parking/permit fraud
  • internal fraud or misconduct by staff, Councillors, partners or contractors

Our Joint Anti-Fraud Forum is responsible for reviewing our fraud risk register. We have a programme of proactive fraud checks targeting areas from the fraud risk register. These include checks on high-value payments to contractors such as salary and overtime payments. 

Data matching exercises are completed in accordance with the National Fraud Initiative (NFI).

How we protect your money

As a local authority, we have a responsibility to:

  • protect the public purse
  • make sure the funds from your Council Tax are used for proper purposes, agreed plans and priorities
  • ensure value for money 
  • ensure proper management of risks associated with all our activities

To help us achieve this we have:

  • a shared Internal Audit service with the South West London Audit Partnership
  • a shared Fraud and Investigation service with the South West London Fraud Partnership 

Internal audit

Internal audit is a statutory function in local government. It is required by the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2011 and is governed by the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (PSIAS). These standards set out the framework for internal audit and identify the key objectives, status and processes.

The Audit Committee regularly reviews the outcome of audit work and agrees on the annual audit plan following consultation with departmental management teams.

The type of work we do includes:

  • risk based audits 
  • systems audits
  • computer audits
  • contracts and project audits
  • regularity audits
  • schools and other establishment audits such as sports centres and libraries
  • compliance with Council rules and agreed policies such as Contract Standing Orders and Financial Regulations

Types of benefit fraud

Here are some examples of types of benefit fraud:

Working and claiming 

This involves someone who is receiving housing benefit or council tax reduction on the basis that they are entitled to Job Seeker's Allowance or Income Support, but are employed.

Non-disclosure of property, capital or income

If someone doesn’t tell us about all of their income, savings, capital or property, or an increase in wages earned. This could mean that the amount of benefit they get is higher than it should be.

Non-disclosure of partner 

When someone is receiving housing benefit or council tax reduction and hasn’t told us they have a partner, are living together as man and wife, as civil partners or as a same sex couple.

Non-declaration of non-dependants or sub-tenants

If someone doesn’t tell us about other adults living in the property so that they can keep, or increase, their entitlement to benefit.

False claims by homeowners

This is when the owner of a property falsely claims housing benefits, claiming that they don’t own the property and are paying rent for the property. They might invent a fictitious landlord and use false rent books and tenancy agreements.

False address or failing to declare a change of address

When someone is claiming benefit for an address where they do not live. These types of offences can involve the landlord or other tenants, or occur when the claimant doesn't tell us that they have moved out of a property. 

If the person rents from the local authority and does not use the home we will recover the property for use by another person.

Landlord fraud

This is where a landlord continues to receive benefit paid directly to them when they know the claimant has left the premises.

Fictitious tenancies

When a tenancy is created between friends or family where the property would not normally be rented, in order to obtain benefit to which they are not entitled.