Ordnance Survey (OS) is a partner of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) in delivering the London Counter Fraud Hub – a project that could save London tax payers £60 million over nine years. The project aims to do this by targeting fraudsters who con London borough councils out of millions in unpaid council tax, illegal property letting and unpaid business rates. Joining OS on this project are accountancy firms Mazars and Moore Stephen, BAE Systems, industry experts CIFAS and all London borough councils.
Andrew Loveless, Commercial Director at Ordnance Survey, said: “For decades detailed and accurate location data has been key in helping financial services tackle crime and fraud. We are very much looking forward to working with our new partners and helping councils and the honest London citizens who each year are being robbed of millions.”
Recent estimates suggest councils are defrauded of £2.1 billion each year nationwide, including £133 million in council tax discount fraud. Last year, London councils detected fraud to the value of £102 million with housing frauds accounting for £74.5m of that total.
Edward Lord, OBE, Chair of London Councils’ Capital Ambition Board, said: “As councils struggle with huge reductions to their budgets, it is imperative that we use new ways to root out fraud across the capital. The London Counter Fraud Hub will now give the London boroughs access to the most sophisticated data analytics to identify potential fraudsters and ensure that money lost to scams ends up in its rightful place – funding vital public services. The Hub will continue to consult regularly with the Information Commissioner to ensure that its operations meet the most rigorous requirements of data privacy and protection and build and maintain public trust.”
The initiative will help both prevent and uncover fraud within boroughs and across boundaries between boroughs, with perpetrators facing sanctions ranging from payment orders to lengthy prison sentences.