Seven Hackney Council workers sacked last year after fraud probes

Hackney Town Hall. Picture: Ken Mears

Hackney Town Hall. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Seven Hackney Council workers were sacked last year following fraud probes, with another eight either resigning or leaving while under investigation.

The council's anti-fraud teams received 44 fresh allegations in 2018/19, and worked on another 39 brought forward from the previous year.

More than half of those reports were categorised as "employee issues", while two involved theft and three centred on cheque or credit card fraud.

Ten of the referrals involved the chief executive's office - the council's top table - with nine each from finances and housing, plus a further five from Hackney Homes and the same from the education body Hackney Learning Trust.

Of the seven workers sacked, four "failed to follow council procedures in the course of carrying out duties", one made a false sickness claim, a third was fired after the council discovered their immigration status did not give them the right to work in the UK and the other was let go over suspected fraud.

On top of that, two agency workers were disciplined for suspected theft, a staff member resigned while being investigated for working elsewhere while on sick leave and another resigned over a false declaration on their job application.

Twelve people were referred to outside agencies, which could be police or the UK Border Agency.

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Hackney Homes

A report that went before the audit committee last month also gives an update on the work of one of two fraud teams, the Pro-Active Fraud Team (PAFT), which was set up as a result of a probe into Hackney Homes contracts.

Ten people are set to go on trial at Southwark Crown Court in September following allegations of fraud and overcharging in 2015. The claims related to a 2011 job to install smoke alarm and fire alarms across the council's housing stock.

The work was done by Lakehouse plc, which also fitted the alarms at Grenfell Tower and Polyteck Business Services Ltd, a sub-contractor of Lakehouse plc, which was not involved with work on Grenfell.

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower blaze, mayor Phil Glanville wrote an open letter to the 166 councils across the country warning them about the "defective" work.