Fraud: Kent Council Targets Business Rates Dodgers

The award-winning Ashford Borough Council’s Investigations team is at the forefront of using new innovative technology to detect and prevent fraud.

The team is a leading partner in the Kent Intelligence Network (KIN). KIN is a Kent wide partnership between local authorities, which aims to reduce fraud and error to the minimum possible level, maximising income across the Kent economy and ensuring safety Kent wide.

The ‘Best Initiative in Combating Fraud’ award was awarded at the 2019 Alarm Risk Awards, for the public and private partnership between KIN and Destin Solutions. KIN use the Destin HUB to successfully detect and prevent fraud in business rates and has been acknowledged for its innovative attempt to fight back.

The winning initiative proactively matches data to highlight suspicious discounts so councils can obtain financial savings and maximise collection rates. The KIN was also shortlisted for the ‘best use of technology’ for the work demonstrating that using technology helps identify, measure and manage risks with positive impacts to business and operational objectives.

Cllr Neil Bell, Portfolio Holder for Finance and IT, said: “It is important that the council can detect and prevent fraud, to ensure that the correct business rates are paid. This partnership is a vital part of that and it is great to be recognised for our role within it.”

Insurance Edge Comment:

Considering how much fraud is going on within the public sector itself, targeting those few devious souls who duck out of paying full business rates is a disappointingly narrow field of vision.

Using language like `ensuring safety Kent wide’ is ridiculous in this context. Repairing a hundred pot-holes and building a dozen separate-from-traffic cycleways would actually keep people in Kent safe. More Police officers searching for knives would help. A team of people inspecting, closing down and recovering assets from slum HMO landlords would probably make lots of people’s lives safer. The list goes on.

But checking if some guy has set up his cousin as the `owner’ of a sub-branch within his takeaway empire, to dodge full business rates? Do me a favour.

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