A step closer to winning the war on housing fraud

A crackdown on housing fraud that has prevented approximately £2 million of fraudulent ‘housing’ applications in Richmond and Kingston has won a prestigious national award.

The tremendous work of Richmond and Kingston’s joint Housing Investigations Team was recognised at the ‘Fighting Fraud locally Awards’ last week.

Organised by the Government’s Fighting Fraud Locally Board, the team came first in the Collaboration Award category. From April 2014 to February 2015, 25 social housing properties were recovered in Richmond and 17 in Kingston. In addition, five potentially false ‘Right to Buy’ applications were identified in Richmond and seven in Kingston.

To win the award the team needed to demonstrate a joined up approach to reducing costs; how it planned and developed the collaborative approach and overcame any barriers or difficulties; evidence of co-operative and joined-up working and the delivery and achievement of joint goals and objectives; and evidence of sustainability.

Richmond Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Cllr Geoffrey Samuel, said:

“Once again this proves that cracking down and prosecuting fraudsters is a priority for this Council. But not just a priority, one of our greatest successes. We uncover and prosecute fraudsters - protecting the finances of our borough and acting resolutely on fraud.”

Councillor Ian George, Lead Member for Housing at Kingston Council, added:

“Many local people really struggle to find quality housing here in Kingston.  Those who try to defraud the system prevent local families in genuine need of housing from getting the home they deserve. Kingston Council, in partnership with our neighbours in Richmond, will ensure fraudsters feel the full force of the law through the court system.”