Local responses to a national initiative on organised crime and local government procurement fraud

Author:Alan Doig, Peter A. Sproat
Position:Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Pages:78-91
SUMMARY

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to research how local councils in England responded to a national initiative intended to address the risk of the involvement of organised crime in local government procurement fraud. In so doing, it considers definitional issues before undertaking original research to explore how councils responded and, through in-depth interviews with three councils, what initial explanations may explain the responses. It concludes that the national initiative was... (see full summary)

 
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Local responses to a national
initiative on organised crime
and local government
procurement fraud
Alan Doig and Peter A. Sproat
Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Abstract
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to research how localcouncils in England responded to a national
initiativeintended to address the risk of the involvement of organised crime in local governmentprocurement
fraud. Inso doing, it considers denitional issuesbefore undertaking original research to explorehow councils
responded and, through in-depth interviews with three councils, what initial explanations may explain the
responses. It concludes that the national initiative was insufciently thought-through, and that councils
responses weresignicantly inuenced by the relevance of the threat of organised crime,nancial constraints
and competingpriorities.
Design/methodology/approach The case study involves a literature review, an analysis of ofcial
documentation,a questionnaire to localcouncils in the north of England and semi-structured interviews with
anti-fraud practitionersin three councils in the northeast of England. The approach is to providean analysis
of the implementationof a national initiative to promote a local governmentresponse to procurement fraud by
organisedcrime.
Findings On the basis of original research, the paper proposes that the national initiative was
insufciently thought-through,and that councilsresponses were inuencedby the relevance of the threat of
organisedcrime, nancial constraints and competing priorities.
Research limitations/implications The research looksat a national initiative and how local councils
responded within the contextof nancial and other constraints.The research is limited in terms of the range
of responses it sought, and that it only studied the experience of three local councils in detail. On the other
hand, its ndings supportfurther research into the implementation of national initiativesin terms of practice
on the ground.
Practical implications The ndings identify issues surrounding the design and implementation of
national anti-fraudpolicies from the perspective of local government and will be of value to practitionersand
academicsinterested in fraud, policing, organised crime, local governmentand policy making.
Originality/value The paper is the rst study in the UK on the local implementation of national
strategies on procurementfraud and organised crime and raises positive and less-positive aspectsof how far
national strategies and intentionsare addressed on the ground, with a focus on what factors may inuence
local implementation.
Keywords Fraud, Organized crime, Local government, Procurement fraud
Paper type Research paper
Introduction
In 2017 a Home Ofce ministerannounced that organised crime looks to exploit any avenue
that they can tap into in order to make massive prots or launder their dirty money, and
that his departments ownresearch suggested that organised crime groups are now looking
to benet from public sector contracts[1].He proposed that each police force should work
more closely than ever with local authorities, share information on known crime groups,
JFC
27,1
78
Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.27 No. 1, 2020
pp. 78-91
© Emerald Publishing Limited
1359-0790
DOI 10.1108/JFC-12-2018-0129
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
https://www.emerald.com/insight/1359-0790.htm

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