Fraud and Raising Concerns

Public Sector Organisations

Fraud Risk

All public sector organisations should have a zero tolerance to fraud.  They should assess their level of fraud risk and ensure that controls are in place to minimise the risk.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) has published a good practice guide on managing fraud risk.  The guide includes self-assessment checklists for use by organisations in assessing their counter fraud arrangements:

Managing Fraud Risk in a Changing Environment: A Good Practice Guide

Reporting Fraud

Managing Public Money Northern Ireland requires all NICS Departments to report immediately to the C&AG (and to the Department of Finance) all proven, suspected and attempted frauds affecting them or the Agencies and NDPBs sponsored by them – Annex A.4.7 Managing Public Money NI.  The C&AG maintains a small counter fraud unit which records and monitors notified frauds, and provides fraud-related advice and guidance, both internally and to the wider public sector.

National Fraud Initiative

The C&AG has statutory powers to conduct data matching exercises for the purpose of assisting in the prevention and detection of fraud. The powers are contained in Articles 4A to 4H of the Audit and Accountability (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 as inserted by the Serious Crime Act 2007.  The powers are exercised through participation in the NFI.  Bodies which are audited by the C&AG or Local Government Auditor may be required to submit data for matching under the NFI.

More information and contact details.

Public Sector Employees

As a public sector employee, you are expected to uphold the highest standards in line with the Nolan principles and your organisation’s code of conduct.

You should report any suspicions of fraud in accordance with your organisation’s anti-fraud policy.  The policy should provide relevant contact details.

You can also raise concerns about possible fraud and corruption with the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) or the Local Government Auditor (LGA) by emailing whistleblowing@niauditoffice.gov.uk.  Any information you provide will be evaluated as audit evidence.  See further information on our Raising Concerns page.

Raising Concerns

How to raise a concern

If you are a public sector employee or a member of the public and wish to raise concerns about the use of taxpayers’ or ratepayers’ money, we would encourage you to contact us.

We welcome such approaches from public sector employees, members of the public, contractors, councillors and other third parties.  Any concerns will, if you wish, be treated in confidence.   

What concerns can NIAO deal with?

You may raise concerns with the Comptroller & Auditor General (C&AG) about:

  • the proper conduct of public business
  • value for money; and
  • fraud and corruption

in relation to the provision of centrally funded public services and health services.

You may raise concerns with the Local Government Auditor (LGA) about:

  • the proper conduct of public business
  • value for money; and
  • fraud and corruption

in relation to district councils, joint committees, the Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee and the Local Government Staff Commission for Northern Ireland.

More information and contact details.

The C&AG, in conjunction with the other public audit agencies, has published a good practice guide on how to raise concerns:

Whistleblowing in the Public Sector: A Good Practice Guide for Workers and Employers