Another weapon in the East Sussex anti-fraud arsenal

New anti-fraud hub launched in Seaford. Picture: Jim Holden
New anti-fraud hub launched in Seaford. Picture: Jim Holden

East Sussex council representatives have strengthened their fight against fraud by creating a new Counter Fraud Hub.

The East Sussex Counter Fraud Hub at Seaford’s Martello Tower was officially opened yesterday with a new hotline number, logo and strapline.

The project aims to tacke fraud throughout the rural, urban and metropolitan areas of the county, targeting activity such as council tax fraud, procurement fraud, housing tenancy and right to buy fraud, blue badge and business rate fraud.

Councils will come to share intelligence to better fight fraudulent activity in the region.

Alongside award winning anti-fraud teams in East Sussex, the East Sussex Counter Fraud Hub has been able to develop a coherent partnership since its formation in 2015. Supported by funding available from the Department of Communities and Local Government, councils throughout East Sussex have combined resources to create innovative and stronger fraud referral systems across the region.

This initiative is part of a nationwide funding programme, which has seen over 55 other councils throughout the UK also set up partnerships and groups during the same period to fight fraud in their local areas.

The East Sussex Counter Fraud Hub successfully exceeded forecast total financial savings of £1,290,000 by over 25 per cent.

Louise Powell, co-ordinator for the East Sussex Counter Fraud Hub, said: “Since April 2015, the East Sussex Counter Fraud Hub has proven fraud in over 600 cases throughout the region, and has even exceeded forecast performance figures.

We are dedicated to providing a serious deterrent to the small number of people who are intent on defrauding the public purse, and as we progress we will also be looking at fraudulent claims on local government grants and false claims on social care payments (personal budgets) to ensure that the funds go to those who actually need them.

The East Sussex Counter Fraud Hub is developing additional counter fraud strategies and future action plans, whilst operating existing services across the county and fostering links with other public and private sector partners.

Members of the public who notice any suspicious fraudulent activity in their neighbourhood or at their place of work, such should call the East Sussex Counter Fraud Hub hotline freephone number on 0800 731 7039.

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