Why part-time super sleuth is worth his weight in gold to Atherstone council tax payers

  Posted: 09.09.20 at 17:23 by David Lawrence – Local Democracy Reporter

us on Facebook



HOUSING BENEFIT CHEATS AND LOCAL AUTHORITY FRAUDSTERS DENIED NEARLY £500,000 LAST YEAR

AND INVESTIGATING OFFICER ACHIEVED SAVINGS WORKING JUST TWO DAYS A WEEK

INVESTIGATIVE work by a job-sharing counter-fraud officer has helped unearth savings of nearly half a million pounds for Atherstone and North Warwickshire council tax payers.

Members of the borough council’s resources board were also told last night that there were also cases of properties being sub-let or abandoned.

A report by the corporate director of resources, Linda Downes, revealed the local authority’s part-time super sleuth had identified cashable savings of approximately £71,000 and notional ones of approximately £405,000.

The report explained: “Notional savings are the estimated future savings to the public purse as a result of the intervention and successful fraud investigation.

“For example, it is assumed that had it not been for the investigation a housing benefit claim would have continued to be paid at the higher rate for at least 21 weeks.

“The successful cases during 2019/20 have mainly been in relation to housing benefit and council tax fraud.

“However, there have been some cases of tenancy fraud identified through sub-letting or abandonment of the property, and this has resulted in four properties being recovered allowing them to be re-let to people on the waiting list.”

North Warwickshire’s current counter-fraud officer has been employed in a shared role with Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council since June 2018 and on average spends two-fifths of his time with the Atherstone-based local authority.

Nub News wonders what could be achieved with a dedicated full-timer?

Another report later in the meeting highlighted the lengthy delays in making some properties habitable again. It was reported that the average time for re-letting a house was 47.8 days.

The report added: “There were a significant number of void properties which needed extensive and structural works to be undertaken before they could be let.

"The average time to bring properties to a lettable standard that did not need extensive works was 19 days.”

Like this article? Sign up to our weekly newsletter...
COUNCIL LEADER SEEKS TO REASSURE DISTRICT ‘ALL PART OF EMERGENCY PLANNING IN EVENT OF A LOCAL LOCKDOWN’ WOOLPACK WAY CAR PARKS W...
Read more...


  Click Here For Additional Info

Share:

    

A message from the Editor, Nick Hudson


Hi, I'm Nick Hudson, the Editor of Atherstone Nub News.

I began my local news career almost half a century ago by covering the town for the old Atherstone, Nuneaton & Bedworth Observer. I attended the Shrovetide Ball Game and reported on the old Southern League Premier side Atherstone Town when ex-England keeper Gil Merrick was the manager, coaching a young Gerry Peyton who went on to hold the No 1 jersey for the Republic of Ireland. Later I was to be the first team captain of Atherstone Hockey Club, and its chairman.

I'm now back to my roots and I want you - the great people of Atherstone - to join me in making the news in your own images. We're going back in time to resurrect a bygone golden age of local reporting while embracing all the advantages of the modern digital era where information is available 24/7 with "your town in your pocket".

We're here to get to the heart and soul of the community, delivering local news and covering national issues on your doorstep. There will always be a good read on Atherstone Nub News - because it's about you.

You can contact me with your Atherstone news by phoning 07852 490666 or by emailing [email protected].