Housing Associations

Public sector fraud was estimated to have cost the UK £37.5 billion in the financial year 20141. Of this, £1.75 billion was attributed to housing tenancy fraud (£919 million of which was attributed to housing associations).

Fifty types of fraud have been identified within this sector, with the most common types being payroll, procurement, housing tenancy fraud, ‘right to buy’ fraud, cyber fraud, fraud within the finance function, recruitment, cash handling, development fraud and estates and maintenance fraud.

Some of these risks can be attributed to the changing landscape of social housing with many social landlords now dealing with the allocation of housing directly to applicants as opposed to nominations from the local authority, and an increase in ‘right to buy’ requests. Having acquired local authority stock some years ago, many social landlords are now engaging in development projects leaving them exposed to external fraud through procurement processes.

Being the only law firm to contribute and advise on content to the latest National Housing Association’s book on fraud in the sector published in 2017, we recognize the threats and challenges for housing associations from financial crime.

We have experience in advising clients in this sector on identifying and reducing their risks to fraud through assisting on investigations and in litigation.

1 Annual Fraud Indicator 2016, pages 18 and 21

Key to our work is developing a knowledge of our client’s working practices

And how, as with many organisations, they may differ from prescribed policies and procedures. That is a reality for many organisations so management of supply chain risk and the threat of bribery requires a key understanding of the higher risk areas for any client.

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