£60m savings target for London counter-fraud scheme

London Councils has created a new, borough-wide counter-fraud hub, aiming to save taxpayers an average of £60 million a year.

Having appointed of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) to provide data analytics, the London Counter Fraud Hub is a partnership between all the London boroughs to target unpaid council tax, illegal property letting and unpaid business rates.

London Councils predicts that the hub could potentially save a yearly average £60 million.

CIPFA’s own Counter Fraud Centre will facilitate collaboration between boroughs by providing services such as a fraud risk register and a London-wide whistleblowing service. Every London borough already has an internal fraud team in place, detecting fraud worth a combined £102 million last year alone.

Edward Lord, chair of London Councils’ Capital Ambition Board, said: “As councils struggle with huge reductions to their budgets, it is imperative that we use new ways to root out fraud across the capital.

"The London Counter Fraud Hub will now give the London boroughs access to the most sophisticated data analytics to identify potential fraudsters and ensure that money lost to scams ends up in its rightful place - funding vital public services.

"The Hub will continue to consult regularly with the Information Commissioner to ensure that its operations meet the most rigorous requirements of data privacy and protection and build and maintain public trust."

Gavin Barwell, Minister for London, said: “We’re determined to help councils crack down on fraudsters that cost them more than £2 billion a year, robbing the taxpayer of vital public services. That’s why we have backed councils with £16 million of funding for 60 projects across the country to tackle this problem.

“Today’s counter-fraud hub is one of the largest of these and will help the capital’s boroughs more effectively catch and prosecute fraudsters.”

The initiative is supported by London Councils’ London Ventures programme which fosters innovation and collaboration between boroughs to deliver value for money for Londoners.