Grant Fraud Risks

28 October 2021

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the volume and profile of government grant funding has increased dramatically. In Northern Ireland, as part of a total COVID-19 support package of over £6.2 billion, over £1 billion has been paid out purely in grants, to support businesses, agriculture, education, transport, sport and the arts. 

Most organisations, businesses and individuals claiming grant support will be legitimate and will use the grant for the purposes intended. However, there will be also those who have taken advantage of the exceptional circumstances created by the pandemic in order to obtain funding to which they are not entitled.

As a timely reminder of these risks, and to provide guidance on how they can be mitigated, the Northern Ireland Audit Office has produced a new guide on Grant Fraud Risks for public sector bodies.

The guide sets out the key fraud risks and red flags at each stage of the grants process, along with suggested mitigating controls for each. The guide also includes a self-assessment checklist, to help provide public sector bodies with a degree of assurance in relation to their individual grants schemes or overall grants process.