England has 433 local authorities that are responsible for the provision of a wide range of services such as social care, education, roads and transport, highways, planning, and development. The new austerity measures that were introduced by the government consequent to the 2008 recession have seen a reduction in central funding for local authorities. This yielded to cost-cutting measures being introduced or being considered by a majority of local authorities (Button & Gee, 2013). One of the most pressing issues facing UK centres on the need to minimize budget deficit. Tackling fraud has been highlighted as one of the most significant ways of putting finances back on a stable footing, and guaranteeing that tax-payers hard-earned money is employed to safeguard resources for frontline services. The fraud presents a severe challenge in all parts of the economy and costs of the UK in the region of £ 73 billion every year. The costs of fraud to local governments are estimated to stand at £ 2.2 billion per year, monies that could be utilized to offset other local services. Official statistics indicate that this is an increase from £ 684 million reported in 2010. The biggest losers arose from housing tenancy fraud (£ 900), payroll and recruitment fraud (£ 152 million), and procurement fraud (£ 855 million) (Fraud Advisory Panel, 2012).
Fraud losses were attributed to council tax, grants, and pensions and the blue badge scheme. Improved prevention, recovery, and detection of fraud will aid to minimize the financial pressure faced by councils. Increasingly, councils and housing associations are already combating fraud and error in housing tenancy claims. Local government is turning to fight fraud locally and addressing the need for enhanced prevention and better enforcement (Vona, 2008). Since 2010, the government has instituted more proactive approaches directed towards tackling fraud against the public purse as demonstrated by the establishment of the counter-fraud task force.
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