Anti-Fraud & Corruption Strategy

This page summarises Surrey Heath Borough Council's 'Anti Fraud and Corruption Strategy'. It briefly sets out the measures the Council takes to protect itself against malpractice through either fraud or corrupt practice. This information is not intended to be a full statement of the Council's strategy. It is the responsibility of Members and employees to be diligent in the fight against fraud and corruption. They should be aware of and familiarise themselves with, the Council's stance regarding fraud and corruption. External contractors, suppliers, partners and members of the public should also be made aware of the Council's counter fraud and corruption measures. The 'Public Interest Disclosure Act' gives provision for the protection from victimisation or harassment of individuals who report suspected fraud or corruption.

A policy checklist based on one devised by 'Public Concern At Work' (an independent charity that provides free advice for employees who wish to express concerns about fraud or other serious malpractice) has been adopted by the Council which details the measures to be taken both to prevent fraud and/or corruption in the workplace and details action to be taken in any investigation.

As a major provider of services to the community Surrey Heath Borough Council (the Council) is committed to protecting itself and its ability to manage its responsibilities by combating fraud and corruption.

The Council's Members and employees are important elements in the fight against fraud and corruption and are expected to maintain the highest possible standards of conduct in public life. The standards expected are set out in the 'National Code of Local Government Conduct' for Members and the Council's 'Code of Conduct' for employees.

The Council also expects its suppliers, contractors and partners to act with integrity and without intention to commit fraud or corruption against the Council. The 'Public Interest Disclosure Act' - or 'Whistle Blower Act' as it is popularly known - guarantees protection from victimisation and/or harassment to anybody who reports fraud or corruption.

The Council has Standing Orders and Financial Regulations in place and Members, employees and suppliers have an obligation to comply with them at all times when dealing with Council affairs. A system of internal checks and monitoring arrangements are in place to underpin the financial control systems.

The Audit Commission and the Council's external auditors, KPMG are committed to the prevention of fraud and corruption. The external auditors have a responsibility to report on the adequacy of the Council's arrangements for combating fraud and corruption. They also have powers to independently investigate fraud and corruption and the Council may also use this as a service to itself.

The Council will actively support and foster relationship with the police and other external agencies in order to combat fraud and corruption within the public sector. In addition, the Council will explore arrangements for cooperation and joint working with other organisations for the purpose of examining new initiatives that help to combat fraud. In all instances where fraud and/or corruption are involved the Council will consider the prosecution of offenders.

The Council recognises that the continued success of its 'Anti-Fraud and Corruption Strategy', and its general credibility, depends largely on the effectiveness and responsiveness of its Members and employees throughout the organisation. To facilitate this, the Council has in place a network of systems and procedures to assist in the fight against fraud and corruption. These arrangements will be updated regularly to keep pace with any new developments. All of the Councils Members and employees receive training aimed at maintaining the internal controls.