Aberdeen City Council has a duty to make sure public funds are properly used and protected, and we are committed to preventing fraud. We take a zero tolerance approach to fraud, bribery and corruption and take robust action against offenders.
We are regularly inspected by both internal and external auditors and the findings are reported to our Audit, Risk and Scrutiny Committee.
What is fraud?
Fraud is the use of deception with the intention of making personal gains, avoiding an obligation or causing loss to another party. Fraud describes a wide variety of dishonest behaviour such as forgery, false representation and concealing facts.
Some examples of the type of fraud that affect the Council are:
- Disposing of commercial waste at recycling centres without proper payment.
- Using a blue badge when it has expired or when the badge holder is not in the car.
- Subletting a council house or using it outwith the terms of the lease.
- Using a fake parking permit or using a residential permit in a commercial zone.
- Failing to declare when someone moves in if you are claiming a Council Tax discount.
- Taking steps to ensure the procurement process is biased towards a particular supplier.
- Declaring yourself to be homeless when you are not.
- Claiming for a grant from the Welfare Fund in a non-emergency situation.
- Claiming for business rates relief or discounts that are not appropriate.
- Failing to declare an income or partner living with you when you are claiming Housing Benefit.
This list is not exhaustive, and we will investigate all allegations we receive.
How to report fraud
You can report allegations of fraud, bribery, corruption, Blue Badge or Parking Permit Misuse or abuse of any Council services using our secure online form:
If you do not want to make a report online, you can contact us using the details at the bottom of this page.
When you make a report, please let us know if we can contact you to get more information. You may also ask for a meeting if you’d like to speak face to face with a member of the team. We will not put you under any pressure to tell us anything you are not comfortable with and we will never reveal your details to the potential fraudster.
You can also report benefit fraud to the Department for Work and Pensions.
What happens next
Our team review all allegations of fraud, and decide whether to investigate further, or pass the details on to another team in the Council or an outside organisation for them to investigate.
We use the following criteria to assess whether a fraud has taken place:
- If you make a statement you know is false in order to claim a benefit or a service.
- If you are claiming a benefit or a service and you fail to make us aware of a change in your circumstances that would have an impact on your claim.
Please note that the above is a summary of the assessment criteria we use and you must carefully read the conditions attached to receiving benefits or council services.
Once we have completed an investigation, we will hold a case meeting to review the evidence and recommend taking one of a range of options, including:
- Issuing a warning letter, but taking no further action.
- Referring the case to the Procurator Fiscal or to Police Scotland to consider criminal proceedings.
- Taking civil action to recover the money lost to the Council.
- Passing the information to another regulatory body for them to pursue.
How do I avoid being accused of fraud?
Allegations can be made about anyone, and we know that allegations are sometimes made maliciously. If we receive an allegation, we will always make initial enquiries to establish the facts before we contact you.
To avoid being the subject of an investigation it is important that you follow these steps:
- Always supply the correct information on forms (paper or digital).
- Make sure that you know what changes you need to report and report them quickly.
- Read the terms and conditions for anything you are applying for carefully.
- If in doubt ask. If you can do this by e-mail then this provides you with an audit trail.
- If you realise you have made a mistake then let the service know as soon as possible. If you do not and we receive an allegation, it may end up as a criminal investigation.
Aberdeen City Council
Corporate Investigation Team
First Floor West
03000 200 291 - ask for the Corporate Investigation Team