Kent County Council loses almost £600K to ‘fraud and error’ since April

KCC County Hall

By Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Esson

Kent County Council (KCC) revealed it lost £586,391 to ‘fraud and error’ since April.

KCC’s general counsel Ben Watts spoke of the “considerable and existential threat this could be to the organisation if not managed properly.”

In a report to the local authority’s Governance and Audit Committee it was also revealed: “an email hack of a senior officer saw an attempt to defraud KCC of £1.2m which was prevented.”

Of the £586k lost, £222,769 was due to a mandate fraud against KCC, which has since been recovered.

A Kent school was also hit by mandate fraud, defrauding it of £164,453, which is under investigation.

Mandate fraud is when fraudsters use deception to alter bank details, sometimes posing as legitimate recipients of regular payments, and take the money intended for elsewhere.

KCC is in the process of recovering £172,860, lost due to the council overpaying a social care provider when they were no longer providing services.

Another attempted hacking of a finance officer failed, but could have resulted in a school losing its monthly advance of £518,213.

Cloning of a KCC-issued purchase card also resulted in a loss of £1,028, and a further £450 was attempted on the same card.

Misuse of Blue Badges – parking permits for the disabled – is also a source of fraud, and many of the Blue Badges used to fraudulently park are reported stolen.

The report showed large disparities in the amount of reported Blue Badge fraud across local councils in Kent.

Ashford Borough Council reported the most incidents – with 27 reported from April to September.

Gravesham reported the second most, with 21 incidents, and Canterbury reported the third most – 17 incidents.

Other Kent local authorities reported significantly less incidents, with several reporting none at all.

James Flannery, KCC’s counter-fraud manager, said that reporting and enforcement of such fraud can be varied due to the fact that lower-tier local authorities are responsible for managing off-street parking themselves.

KCC has saved £593,133 by getting business rates from businesses previously not charged them, on council taxes received from properties which hadn’t paid, and from reclaiming debts from debtors who tried to escape paying.

The council heard that fraud awareness and anti-fraud training sessions have been held with school governors and council staff at KCC. Staff of district and borough councils in the county are also in regular contact and share information with KCC’s counter-fraud team.

Cllr Rosalind Binks (Cons), chairwoman of the governance and audit committee, suggested such sessions may not be enough.

She said “Awareness sessions across the various areas were carried out, and yet in April to September we still had attempts being made, so sessions on their own may not be enough, and I think there has to be a continual reminder because these are big sums of money.”


    • Cheap comment! All large organisations both public and private plus individuals are more open to fraud than ever before and some of it is very sophisticated. I note the NHS Counter Fraud Authority estimate that the NHS is vulnerable to £1.198 billion worth of fraud each year! At least the KCC report above is being transparent and issues are being highlighted and is in the public domain! By the way I note Gravesham (Labour controlled) is mentioned with 21 incidents.

    • If you want to make negative comments about migrants then you are a sad, pathetic person, suffering from low self esteem! Having a go at poor unfortunate people, often with children escaping war, civil unrest, and persecution as 87& of them are according to Andrew Mitchell, Tory MP, who go on to become legitimate Asylum Seekers! Get help Fred, my guess is you are a bully (and possibly a racist), and all bullies suffer from self loathing, and want to make others feel as miserable as they are.

  1. Dick Symonds and Phyllis Quot – Headlines are ideally shocking and seductive, drawing you in to read the whole article. What I read was: “Of the £586k lost, £222,769 was due to a mandate fraud against KCC, which has since been recovered. A Kent school was also hit by mandate fraud, defrauding it of £164,453, which is under investigation. KCC is in the process of recovering £172,860, lost due to the council overpaying a social care provider when they were no longer providing services.” If my maths are correct, it means that £560, 082 is in process of being recovered, making the net losses for 6 months around £26,000. They have also recovered £593,000 from unpaid rates and stopped attempted fraud of vast sums. Now the picture looks very different, eh?

    • You can comment on anything you like. It’s the way that some people make their comments that necessitates Kathy shutting down a thread.
      You can, of course, launch your own news page, and publish away. Do a blog, like Ian Driver.

      • Not true in reality though & so much for an open press & free speech. But the media have shown the last few years it is all about printing whatever the government tell them to like nodding dogs.

        Not challenging anything Covid related that might be construed as ‘anti-vax’ & that doesn’t mean Alex Jones conspiracy theories, but even merely questioning/holding the government to account on wasting 9 billion on useless PPE via corrupt deals with their friends, Pfizer & the other companies motives/behaviour, or reporting side effects/deaths & all print & television media pushing BLM & LGBQTIA & whatever other letters join in that week propaganda & shutting down any dissenting view, regardless of how it is put.

          • Yes, Raves from the grave or blasts from the past. One of my favorite tunes is Fire, from the Crazy world of Arthur Brown,and I see he is still alive unlike some on this HYS.
            You can say anything you like, as long as it does not incite others to carry out acts of violence or induce panic in a crowded event, or use hate speech to harass, intimidate or threaten.
            Some of the stuff that JK Rowling has been receiving is appalling.
            All I am saying is make your point, try to be tolerant, see the other side of the argument, and try to be gracious.
            Hate and anger are so very tiring and don’t you think we have heard enough?
            We know some here are worked up about ‘immigrants’ and that they think there are too many, so is continually saying so, going to make me and others like me change my mind, probably not.

  2. Get used to this now we have a Prime Minister in charge who oversaw Covid grant fraud of up to £6bn during his time in charge of the Treasury.

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