12 Camden Council employees sacked for working in the UK illegally
PUBLISHED: 17:29 24 June 2016 | UPDATED: 17:29 24 June 2016
A dozen Camden Council employees have been dismissed in the past year because they did not have the right to work in the UK, a report has revealed.
Another employee resigned whilst one was suspended due to right to work in the UK issues.
One employee resigned after they were identified as having been employed elsewhere whilst on sick leave.
The statistics were revealed in Camden’s annual counter fraud report, which provides the audit committee with a summary of anti-fraud activities undertaken during the tax year 2015-16.
The report provides an account of fraud-related activity carried out by the council’s Anti-Fraud and Investigations Team (AFIT), which consists of a team of three investigating officers.
In 2015-16, AFIT received 82 referrals of suspected fraud, theft or irregularity - 17 of which are currently being handled under the council’s whistleblowing policy.
A further eight cases reported in 2014-15 have yet to be resolved and are still under investigation.
One referral resulted in the recovery of a council homw after an employee was found to not be a full-time resident of the property where they had submitted an application to succeed a family member’s tenancy.
Of the 82 referrals made to AFIT in 2015-16, 59 contained allegations of suspected fraud or malpractice by council employees.
Investigations were opened in all 59 of these cases, but 32 have now been closed and defined as “no further action” after no evidence was found to substantiate the allegations.
The majority of the 82 referrals came from the Health and Social Care sector of the council - which includes care workers.
11 referrals came from the Children, Schools and Families department, 10 from the department of Culture and Environment and seven from the Finance department.
At last week’s meeting of the Audit and Corporate Governance Committee. Labour Cllr Tomlinson questioned whether a team of three people was sufficient to deal with all the allegations of fraud and malpractice.
Cllr Stephen Stark, a Conservative, raised the matter of the cases where “no further action” is taken after referral, and was told by council officers responsible that there was always a risk of “malicious referrals” but that they are happy with the protocol for investigating, whilst acknowledging that “we could always use more resources”.
A spokesman for the council said that the employees who were dismissed or resigned for not having the right to work in the UK “worked in a range of directorates across the council and did not occupy any senior management positions.”
He added that the action taken against the employees “resulted from a pro-active initiative undertaken jointly by Camden Council’s Human Resources department and our anti-fraud investigations team”.