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Anti-fraud policy

Our anti-fraud policy sets out our policy with regards to fraud and other forms of dishonesty.

Anti-fraud, bribery and corruption policy

Last updated: 19 July 2023

Why do we need this policy?

The purpose of this policy is to provide (both of the following):

  • definitions of fraud, bribery and corruption
  • an overview of responsibilities for reporting in the event of suspected, attempted or actual fraud, bribery or irregularity

Who needs to follow this policy and why?

This policy applies to (all of the following):

  • our people
  • our board
  • our partners

Bribery, fraud and corruption have corrosive effects within society in the UK and around the world. We are all responsible for reporting all suspicions of fraud, bribery or corruption, and for acting honestly and with integrity at all times. We must do so to (do all of the following):

  • safeguard public funds
  • tackle all forms of financial impropriety and corruption
  • uphold our values and comply with the law (in particular The Bribery Act 2010)

What’s our policy and how will we implement it?

We have adopted several procedures to minimise the risk of fraud, bribery and corruption:

  • our employee code of conduct
  • our internal systems of control and assurance, including training, standard operating procedures, performance reporting and review
  • our travel and expenses policy and booking systems
  • the gifts and hospitality policy provides guidance as to how any gifts or hospitality offered to employees, partners and board members should be dealt with and reported
  • any employee, partner or board member who is offered gifts or hospitality should record this on the gifts and hospitality register (whether they accept or decline)
  • we require all board members to complete an annual declaration of interests, hospitality and gifts
  • we require all executive directors to complete the register of gifts and hospitality annually
  • we will select any individual, organisation or supplier working with (or on behalf of) us will through a transparent and, wherever possible, a competitive selection method
  • we are committed to ensuring due diligence has been carried out on third parties who work with (or on behalf of) us prior to entering contracts

Reporting a concern

Individuals should immediately report any suspected or actual instances of fraud, bribery or corruption. This includes (any of the following):

  • offers to pay bribes
  • solicitation of bribes
  • demands to make facilitation payments

Failure to report could result in disciplinary action. Reports should be made to the head of finance and commercial (or the executive director for people and business support, if the concern relates to the head of finance and commercial). If individuals are not comfortable reporting their concerns to these role-holders, they should contact the CEO.

In the event of a report being made to the head of finance and commercial, they will inform the executive director for people and business support, who will inform the CEO promptly.

The executive director for people and business support and the CEO will decide the appropriate course of action to be taken. This includes informing the chair of the board and the chair of the audit risk and assurance committee. They will do this if the concern has had (or may have) a material impact on (any of the following):

  • Social Work England
  • registered social workers
  • the public
  • other stakeholders

Investigation and sanctions

We will take all reports of actual or suspected fraud, bribery and corruption seriously. We will investigate proportionately and appropriately, as set out in this policy.

Where staff or partners are involved, the resulting actions may include (any of the following):

  • disciplinary procedures
  • contract termination, dismissal or removal
  • criminal prosecution

Where a board member is involved, this could lead to them being removed from the board.

Certain offences carry criminal liability for corporate entities as well as individuals. Sanctions include significant fines and/or imprisonment.

Referral to external agencies

The chief executive will decide at what stage a concern should be reported to the police or other external agency such as the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

Recovery action

We will make all efforts to recover any gain, asset and/or benefit which has been obtained through a fraudulent act.

Where we have identified a loss, we may obtain legal advice about the need to trace and/or freeze a person’s assets through the court (pending conclusion of the investigation). We will also obtain legal advice relating to the recovery of losses through the civil and criminal courts or deducting losses from any salary payments.

During an investigation, an individual may offer to repay the amount that they have obtained improperly. The investigating officer must neither solicit nor accept such an offer. This is because it may be construed as having been obtained under duress. The investigating officer should record any offer and refer it to the executive director of people and business support.

Reporting to our chair and chair of the audit, risk and assurance committee

We will keep both our chair, and the chair of the audit, risk and assurance committee, informed of the progress of any investigations of a material impact relating to impropriety.

This includes (all of the following):

  • a description of the incident, including (all of the following):
    • the value of any loss
    • the people involved
    • the means of perpetrating the fraud
  • the measures we have taken to prevent a recurrence
  • any action needed to strengthen future responses to fraud
  • a follow-up report on whether these actions have been taken

Roles and responsibilities

Our people, board and partners

We expect everyone working with and for us to always to be aware of the possibility of fraud, bribery, corruption and/or theft in the workplace. They should (do all of the following):

  • act with integrity and promptly share any concerns they may have
  • familiarise themselves with our employee code of conduct and relevant policies and procedures and ensure these are followed at all times
  • complete mandatory training in relation to bribery, corruption and fraud
  • ensure that all Social Work England resources, including money, equipment and staff time are used appropriately and efficiently to meet the intended business purposes. Intentional misuse of resources to benefit an employee or another person can fall within the definition of fraud
  • refuse to give, promise to give, or offer, a payment, gift or hospitality with the expectation or hope that a business advantage will be received, or to reward a business advantage already given
  • not give or accept a gift or hospitality during any commercial negotiations or tender process (if this could be perceived as intended or likely to influence the outcome)
  • not accept a payment, gift or hospitality from a third party, knowing or suspecting it is offered with the expectation that it we will provide a business advantage for them (or anyone else) in return
  • not accept hospitality from a third party that is unduly lavish or extravagant
  • not threaten or retaliate against another individual who has refused to commit a bribery offence or who has raised concerns under this policy
  • always ask for advice and guidance if they are uncertain about anything

Specific risk mitigation measures

To manage the exposure to bribery and corruption, everyone should comply with our employee code of conduct and all relevant policies and procedures, particularly our procurement guidelines, policy on travel and expenses and policy on gifts and hospitality. No payment, gift or service is to be made to or received by individual employees without prior notification to (and the approval of) the head of finance and commercial. Conflicts of interest are known to increase the risk of fraud. All staff who have an interest in an actual or potential supplier (whether personally, or through family members, close friends or associates) must report that conflict of interest to the head of finance and commercial.

Related policies, procedures and information sources

Internal whistleblowing policy

Gifts and hospitality policy and register

Travel and expenses policy

Employee code of conduct

Procurement and commercial guidelines


If you have a query about this policy, please contact the head of finance and commercial.



Fraud describes several activities including theft, false accounting, embezzlement, bribery and deception. The Fraud Act 2006 defines three class of fraud:

  1. False representation: a person commits fraud by intentionally and dishonestly making a false representation. A false representation includes intentionally giving a misleading or untrue statement.
  2. Failing to disclose information: a person commits a fraud if they dishonestly fail to disclose information.
  3. Abuse of position: a person commits a fraud if they dishonestly abuse their position.

To have committed a fraud a person must have acted dishonestly, and with the intent to (do one or more of the following):

  • make a gain for themselves or anyone else
  • cause loss to anyone else, or expose anyone else to a risk of loss

Fraud does not need to involve money. 

Intentional misuse of resources (for example, claiming expenses that you are not entitled to under our policies) could also fall within the definition of fraud.


Corruption is the misuse of power for personal gain.

The Bribery Act 2010

The Bribery Act 2010 requires our people, board and our partners to not either directly or indirectly (do any of the following):

  • offer, give, solicit or accept any bribe, either in cash or any other form of reward, to or from any person or company, wherever they are located and whether they are a public official or body, or private person or company
  • give or retain any commercial, contractual or regulatory advantage through unethical or illegal means when conducting business on our behalf


Last reviewed: Interim review July 2023 

Next review date: October 2023

Policy owner: Head of finance and commercial

Sponsor: Executive director - people and business support

Policy reference: POL_FRA_004

Version: 2.1

If you require a PDF version of this policy, please contact us.

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