Its bankers alert Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to ‘potential attempted fraud’

File photo of the overview and scrutiny committee of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Autho

File photo of the overview and scrutiny committee of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority. Picture: ROBERT ALEXANDER - Credit: Archant

Details are only now emerging of a fraud against the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CAPCA).

Papers to be discussed at this week’s CAPCA meeting reveal that on September 6 last year its fraud prevention policy swung into action.

A report to CAPCA members on Wednesday says its bank had alerted it to a “potential attempted fraud”.

John Pye, chairman of the audit and governance committee was briefed 10 days later.

“A paper on the ‘anti-fraud, bribery and corruption policy’ was presented to the A&G committee on September 27, at which the incident and the authority’s response were reviewed,” say the report to this week’s CAPCA meeting.

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“Management notified staff of the potential risk and provided guidance materials on identifying potential frauds, minimising the risk of being the victim of fraud, and on the specific phishing attack on the Combined Authority.

“The bank also provided a training session on anti-fraud protection to an ‘all staff’ team meeting.”

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The report adds: “The money was eventually recovered.”

This week’s CAPCA meeting will also hear regular member development sessions to “help improve the skills of the committee”.

Mr Pye says that “unfortunately it was not possible to take a more structured approach to committee development and improvement”.

He will tell the CAPCA board: “There was insufficient response from members to both a skills audit and a self-assessment questionnaire that would have helped focus a development programme.

“Development was also hindered by the discontinuity in the support to the committee because of the turnover of interim monitoring and scrutiny officers during the year.”

On committee attendance, he says that at the end of the final meeting of the municipal year for 2018/19, he had circulated a letter to council leaders, monitoring officers and chief executives of constituent councils.

The letter was to remind them of the high threshold of two-thirds attendance needed for quoracy (6 out of 8).

“Three of the four meetings were only just quorate, and the start of one meeting had to be delayed due to lack of numbers,” says Mr Pye.

His annual report will be debated by the board.

NB: Minutes of the audit and governance committee for last year offer no further insight into the attempted fraud. A request for more information is being sent to CAPCA.

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