Norfolk council staff dismissed or resigned over fraud
Sarah BrealeyFive members of staff at Norfolk County Council have resigned or been dismissed over theft, fraud and related allegations in the last 18 months.Sarah Brealey
Five members of staff at Norfolk County Council have resigned or been dismissed over theft, fraud and related allegations in the last 18 months.
Suspected fraud worth thousands of pounds has been investigated by the council so far this year and last year. This year, three cases include a member of staff in the children's services department who resigned over financial concerns. Another case is still ongoing, and a third involved an outside organisation which had been funded by the county council.
Last year, at least three members of staff resigned and one was dismissed. The person dismissed was a member of school staff who stole �863. Another member of school staff resigned over a theft allegation worth around �300. In the community services department, an employee in community services was alleged to have stolen �40 from a service user, while another was said to have abused their position by misusing property.
The largest-value case was a member of school staff who stole �27,000 by making out cheques to herself in 2007, while in the same year a member of the public managed to steal �4,000.
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The Evening News made a Freedom of Information request to all the region's councils for details of fraud investigations and referrals under the Fraud Act. At Norfolk County Council, there were 21 of these between 2007 and 2010.
Ian Mackie, cabinet member for finance and performance, said: 'Thankfully, instances of fraud and theft are relatively rare at the county council, especially when you consider the sheer size of the authority, with an annual budget of more than �1.5bn and 27,000 employees.
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'That said, this is never something we brush under the carpet and we would always encourage our staff and members of the public to make us aware of any concerns they have about financial irregularities in relation to council business or work so that we can investigate. Where we have found there to be wrongdoing we operate a zero tolerance policy and haven't hesitated to take action, including involving the police and prosecuting where appropriate.'
Norwich, Broadland, South Norfolk and North Norfolk councils all said they had not had any cases in the last three years.