A CRIMINAL probe has been launched after a Wigan council worker scammed “a significant amount of cash” relating to school meals income.
According to a report submitted to the local authority’s audit committee this month, the employee admitted to the theft but resigned before disciplinary proceedings could take place.
The matter has been handed over to Greater Manchester Police and an attempt to recover the funds are in progress, officials stated.
The Evening Post revealed late last year that the council has uncovered 20 cases of internal fraud, amounting to £100,000, a majority of which has been recovered. Andrew Taylor, Wigan Council’s assistant director for finance, said: “When fraud does happen within the council it is normally detected through our programme of audits or from tip-offs from employees and members of the public.
“Where fraud is detected, our fraud response arrangements ensure such cases are properly investigated and reported on.”
Committee members were told that council officials deemed it appropriate to seek gross misconduct charges following a hearing. The report stated the “misappropriation of a significant amount of cash over a number of years had related to school meals income.”
A detailed assessment of the incident has been passed on to council bosses to ensure “procedures in relation to cash handling, banking and income monitoring are improved.”
Mr Taylor added:“The council is committed to protecting the public funds it administers and where fraud is proven, appropriate sanctions and will be sought.
“Fraud investigations will also consider whether any control weaknesses have provided the opportunity for fraud and if this is the case, procedures will be strengthened and lessons learned and disseminated across the council.”