Forensic accounting services in English local government and the counter-fraud agenda

Mohd Hadafi Sahdan, Christopher Cowton, Julie Drake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Fraud is a growing challenge for English local government, yet the resources and support local authorities (LAs) have available to prevent, detect and investigate it are limited. Forensic accounting services (FAS) provided by external specialist private sector firms, particularly those undertaking mandatory external audit, might be one solution. Research reported in this paper suggests, however, that existing English LA users are not all convinced. Nevertheless, better awareness and understanding of what FAS have to offer, perhaps through case studies of successful implementation, would be a valuable contribution to helping local government enhance its counter-fraud capabilities and make informed decisions about how best to meet the increasingly complex fraud challenge.

Forensic accounting services (FAS) provided by specialist private sector firms might help local government meet the growing challenge of fraud, especially digital fraud perpetrated by organized criminal groups, at a time when in-house capacity and expertise are severely constrained. However, a questionnaire survey suggests that usage by English local authorities is currently limited, and it also found mixed levels of satisfaction amongst those that had used FAS. Nevertheless, better awareness of what FAS have to offer, perhaps through case studies of successful implementation, would help local authorities make more informed decisions about when and how to use FAS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-389
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Money and Management
Volume40
Issue number5
Early online date23 Jan 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2020

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