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Government issues advice to local authorities on how to fight procurement fraud

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has published a Review into risks of fraud and corruption in local government procurement, which provides advice on how councils can strengthen their processes and implement prevention measures.

Produced in collaboration with local government partners and the Prime Minister’s Anti-Corruption Champion John Penrose MP, the Review sets out practical examples and case studies.

Councils in England spend around £55bn a year on goods, work and services. A survey conducted as part of the review showed 23% of respondents reported fraud and/or corruption in the procurement lifecycle during the 2017 to 2018 financial year.

Local Government Minister Simon Clarke MP said: “Everyone in public life shares a common duty to protect the interest of taxpayers.

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“Acknowledging and mitigating the risk of fraud and corruption is critical for sound financial management and to ensuring that every pound spent by councils is used to support the communities they serve. This is true especially at a time when councils continue to work hard in the national effort against the coronavirus pandemic.

“There is no silver bullet, but I would urge all councils across the country to learn lessons from this report and harness the tools it provides to tackle fraud and corruption.”

Cllr Peter Fleming, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Improvement and Innovation Board, said: “This timely report highlights good practice by councils and provides helpful recommendations as they strive to ensure that taxpayers’ money is protected from fraud and spent on vital public services.

“This is increasingly important during the pandemic and after – none more so than in areas such as PPE and electronics where demand is outstretching supply.

“This report complements the LGA’s Counter Fraud Hub and we will aim to adapt and implement its recommendations through our sector-led improvement workstreams.”

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