Tackling Fraud Across Local Government: The value of collaboration and innovation

Pips Houghton
April 4, 2024

In our latest blog Chris Keesing, Counter Fraud & Investigations Manager at the City of London Corporation makes clear the importance of collaboration across local government to tackle fraud. Chris explains how the London Boroughs, through the London Borough Fraud Investigators Group (LBFIG), have collaborated to bring down fraudsters through innovate use of data, specifically cross-boundary data matching.


'The London Borough Fraud Investigators Group (LBFIG), is a regional professional network, comprising over 200 counter fraud professionals representing counter fraud & investigation teams across all 33 London Boroughs. Through LBFIG, 26 London Fraud teams have come together to launch the NFI London Counter Fraud Hub allowing London to undertake cross-boundary data matching, responding to the way criminals operate without borders.

During, and post-pandemic, and facilitated by the ability for staff to work remotely, we identified an emerging and growing fraud risk – contingent workers simultaneously working across more than one contract and for more than one employer. The financial rewards for this are significant for those undertaking such practices, whilst the risks to London Boroughs includes financial risk, reputational risk, intellectual property risk and safeguarding risk to name a few.

Through our LBFIG fraud hub sub-group we developed a response to this risk by matching council employee data and agency staff data – a first, and an innovative approach to using big data to identify fraud.

Before we could embark on this data matching, we had to engage closely with our managed service providers of contingent workers to London Boroughs, we done this through a series of roundtable events, we also engaged with our Human Resources and Legal teams and ensured that our Finance Directors were engaged and supportive of this project.

Having not done this before, we sought independent legal advice, and decided to run this project as a proof-of-concept; privacy notices were amended and updated, data sharing agreements were entered into by all parties, and a slimmed down data-specification was devised for our managed service providers, that was achievable and realistic.

Over 100,000 council payroll records and 3,000 temporary worker records were submitted for matching within the Fraud Hub, with 217, or 7.2%, of the 3,000 Agency records flagged as potential fraud.

London Boroughs are currently in the process of reviewing these matches and will take appropriate action in line with local procedures. A summary report with key findings and outcomes will be released to our stakeholders in May.

We are now exploring moving to business as usual and will be discussing this at roundtable event with all our stakeholders in April to agree scope, frequency, and resource requirements.'

Join us for Counter Fraud 2025 next February to hear more examples of innovation and best practice from across the sector alongside other key topics and the latest technological advances in the field. The Counter-Fraud Conference is the UK's leading counter-fraud event.