More than £3.85m of public funding has been protected as a result of investigation work by East Suffolk Council's Corporate Fraud Service in 2022/23.

The team uncovered 66 cases of irregularity from 318 investigations between the beginning of April 2022 and the end of March 2023.

An annual Corporate Fraud Service performance report, presented to the council's audit and governance committee, showed that investigating officers helped to detect £3,855,337 in irregularity during the last financial year.

Lowestoft Journal: East Suffolk Council's corporate fraud service team. Picture: East Suffolk CouncilEast Suffolk Council's corporate fraud service team. Picture: East Suffolk Council (Image: East Suffolk Council)

The Corporate Fraud Service team comprises four professionally accredited counter fraud specialists responsible for investigating any potentially fraudulent activity relating to the organisation, its partnerships and direct contractors.

Intervention included the cancellation of 13 Right to Buy applications, saving £1,062,580 in discounts and helping to safeguard the market value of the properties, which were retained within the housing portfolio and continue to yield monthly rental income.

Meanwhile, tenancy fraud investigations resulted in the recovery of eight social housing properties, saving an estimated £744,000 and enabling genuinely eligible families to becomes tenants.

A further £241,715 was reclaimed in financial contributions to pay for improved infrastructure from planning applicants who wrongly claimed exemption from liability to pay Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) but were found not to have fulfilled conditions relating to their declaration.

Another £401,839 was retained through the preventing and detection of incorrect or fraudulent Covid-19 business recovery grant claims, designed to provide financial support for small businesses following the coronavirus pandemic.

Business rate avoidance detection resulted in new bills worth £114,416, while investigations into businesses with additional undeclared premises removed £3,675 in wrongly claimed Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR).

Vince Langdon-Morris, the council's cabinet member for Resources and Value for Money, said: "I commend the work of our Corporate Fraud Service team in upholding the council’s zero-tolerance approach to fraud, corruption, bribery and other irregularity."

Reports of suspected fraud can be made to the council on 01394 444444 or via