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24 October 2013
Council’s housing case win returns home to council control
A court ruling (Thursday 24 October) has ordered an absent council tenant to give up his home and return it to City of York Council.
The council took action against a long standing council tenant on the basis that he had not been living at his council home – a three bedroom property in the Tang Hall area, for a considerable length of time.
In a two day trial at York County Court evidence was heard from Veritau officers, the tenant and members of the public. A District Judge granted a possession order for the property with immediate effect and ordered the tenant to pay £10,000 in court costs.
Cllr Tracey Simpson-Laing, Cabinet Member for Health, Housing and Adult Social Care, said, “This verdict is very pleasing as it returns a much-needed family home to urgent and legitimate use. With nearly 3,000 on our waiting list, the demand for affordable social housing is very high.”
Councillor Linsay Cunningham-Cross, City of York Council’s Cabinet Member for Crime and Stronger Communities, said: “We will not let our council homes be exploited at the expense of some of our most vulnerable people. Misuse of council properties costs everyone too dearly to allow anyone to get away with it. I appeal to any residents with concerns that social housing may be being abused, to come forward and help us return it to proper use.”
This judgment comes in the same month as new legislation has been introduced under the Social Housing Fraud Act which makes it a criminal offence to sub-let social housing.
Do you have suspicions? If so, we need your help to tackle this problem. To report suspected housing fraud in complete confidence, please call Veritau’s fraud hotline on 01904 552935 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
22 October 2013
Council tackles case of benefit fraud
An investigation carried out by City of York Council has helped to tackle a case of fraud in the city.
The council carried out an investigation into a claim to housing and council tax benefit after a member of the public brought the crime to the attention of the council’s fraud hotline.
A woman, (33) of York, failed to declare that she had a partner, who was in paid employment, residing in the property for a number of years whilst receiving benefits. A joint investigation was conducted by Veritau and the Department for Work and Pensions who found that as a result of not declaring this she was overpaid £3,283.28 in Housing Benefit and £2,682.64 in Income Support.
On 22 October 2013 the woman pleaded guilty to all charges at York Magistrates Court and received a conditional discharge.
A spokesperson for Veritau said: “This is another example of a good result in the fight against fraud. The council will not tolerate this type of criminal behaviour, at any level, and action will be taken against those who are abusing the system. We’d like to thank the member of the public who brought this crime to our attention and encourage anyone with any information on fraudulent activity to phone the confidential fraud hotline on 01904 552935 or email email@example.com.”
26th September 2012
Council leader visits Veritau
In the latest in a series of visits to meet key services in York, Cllr James Alexander, Leader of City of York Council, this week visited Veritau.
Veritau has been working alongside the council’s Housing Department for the past two years to tackle housing fraud. To date we have assisted with the recovery of 25 properties and the blocking of 10 false applications for housing.
During the visit Cllr Alexander met with Max Thomas, Director of Veritau; Jonathan Dodsworth, Counter Fraud Manager and Richard Smith, Client Relationship Manager to learn more about Veritau itself and the services it provides.
Cllr Alexander, said: “With over 4000 people currently on the waiting list for council accommodation, I was keen to visit Veritau to learn about how their work helps with maximising the social housing available to us. They recently assisted the council in an illegal subletting case which was only the third such prosecution nationally and the only one outside of London, which just goes to show how important the work they complete is for York.”
Max Thomas, director of Veritau, said “City of York Council has a good track record with tackling fraud. In the last few years, Veritau has adopted a number of new and innovative measures to help identify and prevent fraud across the range of services provided by the council.
“Our aim is to work closely with council departments including benefits, housing and social care to ensure fraud is kept to a minimum. This approach is designed to help the council to maintain services at a time when budgets are under pressure. We were therefore very pleased to be able to meet with Cllr Alexander and to discuss our work and the steps which are being taken to combat fraud.”
11th January 2012
Veritau - North Yorkshire
Veritau is pleased to announce that we will be providing internal audit services to five of the North Yorkshire district councils from April 2012, namely Hambleton, Ryedale, Richmondshire, Scarborough and Selby. Services will be provided by a newly formed company called Veritau – North Yorkshire. Staff currently working with the North Yorkshire Audit Partnership will transfer to the new company on the 1st April.
For all the latest Veritau staff news, click below.