Errors by staff and instances of fraud cost Caerphilly County Borough Council more than £92,000 in 2018.
An update on the National Fraud Initiative found that last year there were a total of 41 errors, which cost the council more than £92,684. So far, £78,472 has been recovered and steps have been taken to recover the rest.
In the council’s audit committee meeting on Tuesday, October 15, Cllr Brenda Miles asked what was being done to reduce the number of errors.
The council’s audit group manager, Debbie Gronow, said that some of the problems could be addressed by good practice.
“For four or five years now we’ve had a system called AP Forensics, so for matches that are potentially 75% matches, it generates a report and then it’s about checking whether it’s correct.
“There are a lot of cross matches coming up and to spot the actual errors can be quite difficult.”
The National Fraud Initiative is a counter fraud exercise undertaken by the Welsh Audit Office. The report includes all data, excluding council tax single person discounts.
Last year, there were 10 frauds identified in the investigation. Four of which came from housing benefits where individuals had not identified income sources, employment or pensions. This contributed £5,775 to the council’s £92,684 total.
Staff errors in creditor payments cost the council £60,534. These errors include duplicated payments among other errors.
£1,518 of the total came from a school-based employer whose resignation was not processed effectively so continued to appear on the council’s payroll for an extra month.
In one case, a private care home continued to charge for a deceased resident, which cost the council £4,173. This overpayment has since been recovered.
The remaining £20,685 comes from council tax where an individual had colluded with their partner to avoid full council tax liability for several years.