Governance and Anti-Fraud
Governance is about how local government bodies ensure that they are doing the right things, in the right way, for the right people, in a timely, inclusive, open, honest and accountable manner.
It comprises the systems and processes, and culture and values, by which local government bodies are directed and controlled and through which they account to, engage with and, where appropriate, lead their communities.
We are committed to ensuring that the principles of good governance are met and in order to meet this commitment we aim to observe the Code of Corporate Governance. Each year we publish the Annual Governance Statement (AGS) with the Statement of Accounts. The AGS explains how we, as an authority, have complied with the Code of Corporate Governance and also how it meets the requirements of the Accounts and Audit (England) Regulations 2011, regulation 4(3).
If you have a complaint to make about a councillor, the Procedure for Making Complaints against a Councillor for an alleged breach of the Code of Conduct can be downloaded here, with a form to make the complaint against the councillor.
Anti Fraud and Corruption
Our culture and ethics is one of honesty and openness in all its dealings, with opposition to fraud and corruption. The Counter Fraud and Corruption Policy Statement, Strategy and Guidance Notes give guidance on prevention, detection and investigation of fraud. It also details how to recognise a fraud and what types of action should be taken.
The Counter Fraud and Corruption Policy Statement, Strategy and Guidance notes applies to all staff, members, contractors, partners, suppliers, service users and the public in general.
The responsibility of the investigation of fraud ultimately lies with the Executive Director Corporate Services (section 151 Officer). On a day to day basis, fraud will usually be investigated by Internal Audit or in the case of Housing Benefits Fraud - Benefits Investigations.
Fraud Investigations for the period April 2014 to December 2014:
- No of employees undertaking investigations and prosecutions of fraud – 2
- No of professionally accredited counter fraud specialists – 2
- Total amount spent £57,597.75
- Total number of fraud cases investigated – 62
The Whistleblowing Policy applies to all staff, members, contractors, partners, suppliers, service users and the public in general. It provides an avenue to report concerns without risking unfair treatment for doing so i.e. protecting the whistleblower. The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 introduced the protection of whistleblowers. All concerns will be treated in confidence and every effort will be made not to reveal your identity if you so wish.
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 became law in July, 1999. This Act introduced the protection of whistleblowers and removes the limits of financial liability to which an organisation is exposed should a whistleblower receive unfair treatment. The policy document sets out the Council’s response to the requirements of the Act.
Under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, any disclosure made using the Whistleblowing Policy, within reasonable belief of the worker making the disclosure will only be protected if it is made in the public interest. It must also show one or more of the following:
- That a criminal offence has been committed, is being committed or is likely to be committed
- That a person has failed, is failing or is likely to fail to comply with any legal obligation to which he is subject
- That a miscarriage of justice has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur
- That the health or safety of any individual has been, is being or is likely to be endangered
- That the environment has been, is being or is likely to be damaged
- That information tending to show any matter falling within any one of the preceding paragraphs has been, is being or is likely to be deliberately concealed
The policy is designed for workers, including:
- Agency workers
- People that are training with an employer but not employed; and self-employed workers, if supervised or working off-site