Hackney Council sacks worker for fraud

Work has been going on at Hackney Town Hall for more than two years. Picture: Isabel Infantes

Work has been going on at Hackney Town Hall for more than two years. Picture: Isabel Infantes - Credit: Archant

Internal fraud investigations at Hackney Council have led to four workers being disciplined in the last three months – with one sacked.

Town hall papers also reveal a man was prosecuted for claiming his dead dad’s council pension for two years while living in his council home – just under £15,000 in total.

The problems within the council were documented in a report published ahead of an audit committee meeting.

Two of the four workers disciplined between September and January were agency workers. One had failed to provide details of their criminal convictions to the agency during the recruitment process and was shown the door, while the other used a council computer to “generate an unauthorised record”.

One employee was sacked and another given a final warning for “producing an unauthorised council document”.

The town hall did not disclose what the unauthorised documents actually were.

Since April there has been a total of seven workers investigated for scams on the taxpayer’s money and Hackney’s finance boss Cllr Geoff Taylor said it would not be tolerated.

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He said: “We enforce the high standards expected of our staff and appropriate action is taken against the small number of people who breach our code of conduct and other council policies.

“The audit investigation team undertook investigations leading to disciplinary action against seven employees and other workers during the past year.”

During the same time period, two people in Hackney were convicted for scamming the taxpayer.

In October, a man was sentenced for fraudulently collecting pension cash on behalf of his father – who had worked for the council but been dead for two years.

He received a six-month jail term suspended for a year and the council is now in the process of recovering the money.

The other conviction was against a woman who used a fake parking permit. She was slapped with a three-month curfew.

“Hackney Council works hard to ensure that taxpayers’ money is protected,” continued Cllr Taylor. “When the council is defrauded, the real victims are the citizens of Hackney; it is their money that is being stolen, and it is their public services that suffer.

“Any attempt to fraudulently claim from the council is taken very seriously, and we will use the full range of sanctions available to us, including prosecution.”