A government report has stressed the importance of best practice in reducing fraud, particularly at a time of heightened council activity and less stringent controls in operation. The UK Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has just published a report on the risks of fraud and corruption in local government procurement, estimated to cost between £275m to £2.75bn. It claims there is no consistent identification and reporting of fraud cases to enable data to be collected to build up a strong picture.

One method of post-procurement scrutiny is open-book accounting, providing councils with the right to inspect the accounts of suppliers with respect to public contracts. Unfortunately, the report shows that open-book or similar clauses are only included in contracts in a minority of cases. Read more here.

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