Hackney Council claws back nearly £1m following fraud investigations

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Hackney Town Hall

Hackney Council has saved almost £1 million following investigations into fraud, including tenancy and parking misuse.

The amount was revealed by the Town Hall’s anti-fraud service at an audit committee hearing on Wednesday.

The council saved an estimated £911,525 thanks to investigations carried out between April and December last year.

Around £761,000 was recouped by solving tenancy fraud, £141,255 from cases involving the ‘no recourse to public funds’ benefit, and £8,570 from Blue Badge or parking misuse.

The anti-fraud investigations led to eight prosecutions, the recovery of 61 Blue Badges and four fraudulent parking permits, the issuing of 39 parking misuse warnings, and 37 penalty charge notices.

A total of 29 vehicles were removed for parking fraud – compared to 56 vehicles the previous year.

Twenty-nine tenancies have also been recovered in the financial year to date, compared to 49 in 2022/23.

The most common outcome was the cancellation of a council service or discount, with 40 such actions taken in 2023/24.

Cllr Gilbert Smyth asked for the cost of prosecutions.

The corporate head of audit Michael Sheffield said eight prosecutions were a “small percentage” of total referrals.

He said the decision to prosecute is not taken “lightly” because “it’s not a cheap exercise and Hackney has limited resources”.

He explained that prosecutions are more likely for those found misusing a stolen, lost or forged permit, rather than people “borrowing mum’s badge when they shouldn’t be using it, which I absolutely don’t endorse”.