FRAUD running into millions of pounds has been uncovered by Bradford Council, figures have revealed.

Data published by the local authority shows the astronomical amount of fraud and irregularity found - and the millions of pounds spent by the Council to investigate and prosecute cases.

Between 2016 and 2020, almost £4.5m of fraud/irregularity was detected, costing more than £2m to investigate.

Bradford Council has warned fraud is not a victimless crime and is a crime which hits the pockets of tax payers hard.


It said: “Fraud affects every organisation in the public and private sector and it is estimated that over £52 billion is lost from the UK economy each year due to fraud.

“Over £2.1 billion of this loss relates to Local Government and the impacts on councils have far reaching consequences and reduce the amount of money that can be spent on delivering front line services to those who need it most.

“Fraud is never a victimless crime and in local government the victims are council tax payers and residents who depend on the essential services the Council delivers.”

The monetary value of fraud uncovered by the Council in 2016 stood at £1,016,496, at £826,911 in 2017 and £610,088 in 2018.

In 2020, the first year of the pandemic, the value soared from just under £827,000 the previous year to more than £1.1m.

A report last year on the work of the Council’s Corporate Investigations Unit (CIU), which investigates allegations of fraud, theft or corruption perpetrated against the local authority, said the unprecedented need to award the grants as soon as possible meant it was inevitable that some grants ended up in the hands of people who were not entitled to them.

It said: “The necessity to distribute the Covid 19 grant scheme payments, to support local businesses, was unprecedented and following the receipt of the funding Government guidance was to ensure that this was distributed at speed by Councils.

“This inevitably resulted in some payments being distributed without a robust application and declaration process which prevented any further enforcement action by the CIU, other than the recovery of any loss.”

The CIU investigates many types of fraud against the Council relating to things like council tax; business rates; disabled facilities grant; personal budgets for adult social care; the West Yorkshire Pension Fund; home improvement loans, as well as things like the misuse of a disabled person’s blue badge and social tenancy housing fraud.

A Bradford Council spokesperson said: “We have a zero-tolerance approach to fraud, corruption or other financial irregularity and all allegations are investigated by the Council’s dedicated Corporate Investigations Team.

"We aim to deliver the highest standard of probity and accountability to protect public funds and how they are used throughout the district by residents and businesses alike. 

"We actively seek to deter and prevent fraud and ensure that all possible risks are minimised.

"We take appropriate action where an investigation reveals fraud, corruption or other financial irregularity have taken place, this includes criminal or civil proceedings through the courts where appropriate.

"These are applied in accordance with the Council’s Sanctions Policy and we always seek financial redress and rigorously pursue the recovery of any monies gained through fraud, corruption or other financial irregularity.”