3.1 Irregularities that are criminal offences broadly fall into one of the categories below:-
The dishonest taking of property belonging to another with the intention of depriving the owner permanently of its possession.
Fraud - Fraud Act 2006
Fraud by false representation, failure to disclose information and abuse of position.
Involves having a pecuniary interest in a benefit claim and knowing that the claim is based on incorrect information.
The Bribery Act
The Act creates two general offences:
- Offering, promising or giving a bribe and
- Requesting or receiving a bribe. In addition there are two specific offences:-
- Bribery of a foreign public official and
- Failure of commercial organisations to prevent bribery (as it is a corporate offence it is not applicable to local authorities) A bribe does not have to be a cash payment, just some advantage.
3.2 There are other irregularities or improper practices, which may tarnish the Council's reputation and / or attract criticism or embarrassment. These include:
- Failure to observe, or breaches of, Standing Orders. Standing Orders in relation to Contracts (Contract Procedure Rules), Financial Regulations, Scheme of Delegation and the Codes of Conduct for Employees and Elected Members;
- Failure to observe, or breaches of, legislation, e.g. Data Protection Act; Human Rights Act; Housing Benefits Regulations, Equality and Diversity and the Computer Misuse Act;
- Failure to observe, or breaches of, the Council's / Service's Policies, Procedures or Practices, e.g., Information Management Policy, which in some circumstances can constitute an irregularity;
- Failure by employees and elected Members to properly declare interests, which may materially affect the carrying out of their respective roles, as laid down in the relevant Code of Conduct.
A breach of any of the above may lead to the Council's disciplinary process being invoked.