§ Mr. Nicholas Winterton
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has concerning the number of cases of fraud involving local government officers in the last five years for which figures are available.
§ Mr. Waldegrave
Prior to the establishment of the Audit Commission in 1983 the Chief Inspector of Audit issued an annual report which contained a detailed breakdown of reported frauds. The following numbers of frauds were reported involving local authority employees for the three years ending 31 March 1982:
Year Cases 1979–80 118 1980–81 114 1981–82 116
Copies of the reports of the Chief Inspector of Audit are available in the House of Commons Library, giving further information.
With the transfer of responsibility to the Audit Commission in 1983, an annual report was not published for 1982–83. The Audit Commission did publish an annual report for the year ended 31 March 1984, but this contains only brief details of cases of fraud exceeding £500 and does not show the number of cases involving local authority employees. However, I understand from the Commission that local authority employees were involved in the following numbers of cases exceeding £500:
Year Cases 1982–83 56 1983–84 52
Figures are not available for petty frauds involving less than £500. If my hon. Friend requires further information I am sure that the Audit Commission would be pleased to assist, subject to the provisions of section 30 of the Local Government Finance Act 1982. This precludes the Commission from providing information about a particular body or person without the consent of the body or person to whom the information relates.
My hon. Friend may be interested to know that the Audit Commission will be publishing on Thursday 28 March a report on computer assisted frauds.