The Surrey Counter Fraud Partnership is Government funded, and aims to save the council money at a time when budgets are under severe strain.
Each participating authority has hired specialist investigators to make it much harder for benefit and council tax cheats to slip through the net.
The investigators will also work closely with housing providers to tackle tenancy and Right To Buy fraud.
Corporate Director for Finance and Resources at Waverley Borough Council Graeme Clark says:
The scale of fraud against local authorities is difficult to quantify, but it is estimated it runs into millions of pounds a year. Such fraud and error not only reduces available monies and resource to support genuine residents, but also reduces the amount of money that can be spent on essential services at time of severe pressure on budgets.The money saved may be crucial at a time when the threat of public service cuts still hangs in the air.
I am pleased that through partnership working with other councils in the county, we are putting in place arrangements to identify and reduce this loss. Waverley already has an excellent track record in tackling fraud and has a prosecution rate of 100% for benefit fraud. The SCFP will enable us to tackle other areas targeted by fraudsters who feel it is acceptable to cheat local tax payers.