Council reveals the extent of housing benefit and blue badge fraud in Doncaster

Doncaster Council has clawed back thousands in overpayments of benefits and caught a number of people illegally using blue badges for parking.

Tuesday, 2nd February 2021, 12:30 pm

New data shows 31 cases of reported blue badge fraud were dealt with or are ongoing within Doncaster Council.

Bosses said the numbers were down on the previous year mainly due to the pandemic and fall in town centre activity.

A total of 16 residents are awaiting court cases, 11 had written warnings issued, two people were issued formal cautions and three cases were discontinued on further investigation.

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More than 30 people were caught fraudulently using a blue badge in Doncaster over the last year

On housing benefit issues, the council said 1,287 cases were referred to the Department for Work and Pensions for further investigation and nearly £69,000 was recovered from people who were either paid in error or defrauded the system.

Nicola Frost-Wilson, the council’s internal audit manager, said: “Blue badge fraud occurs where individuals misuse a blue badge issued to someone with reduced mobility.

“Blue badge fraud reduces the council’s parking revenue and takes up valuable spaces for less mobile and/or elderly persons.

“Prosecutions have been lower in the period March to September 2020, primarily due to the pandemic.

"Reduced activity in town centre locations is directly leading to lower levels of rule breaking, and therefore, lower levels of enforcement activity with delayed prosecution activity due to the various lockdowns and restrictions that have been occurring."

She said housing benefit overpayments occur through error or fraud by the claimant or by the landlord or agent or they delay or do not report a change in entitlement to the council.

She added the housing benefit fraud happens when changes are deliberately not reported and the council pursues overpayment.