Counter Fraud Services

Why should I be concerned about Fraud in Schools?

Fraud can be classified largely into two forms – internal and external.

External fraud requires an outside party making an effort to extract money from a school.

Internal fraud is committed by an associated party – this may not be an employee but could be any person who has access to any of the assets or financial systems.

There should be a clear distinction between situations that should be considered fraud and situations in which it is really the blame of poor practice.

Every school has an obligation to protect itself and the funds provided to it from the public purse. It is expected that all schools act with integrity, honesty, and openness, and that the highest levels of conduct are expected as the standard for all staff.

We strongly recommend completing the School Fraud Risk Health Check to check the areas of risk in your school and sharing this with the School Governors

What Risks should I be aware of?

It is important to be aware of the risks of fraud in schools, especially when working in a position where you are responsible for mitigating those risks.


The types of Risks particular to schools include:

  • Wages and overtime claimed fraudulently
  • Contracting suppliers where there is a conflict of interest
  • Fabricated invoices for goods/services not provided
  • School funds diverted elsewhere
  • Misappropriating money for school trips or petty cash
  • False accounting
  • Lack of regular scrutiny by senior management, governors, and internal audit

For further information on the fraud risks to schools and examples, see the link below

Table of Fraud Risks

What are the Indicators of Fraud in Schools?

There are various indicators of fraudulent behaviour. These include indicators relating to the behaviour of the person committing the fraud, as well as indicators which require awareness of the organisational information such as looking for any unusual financial activity.

For further guidance on the types of Fraud found in Schools, what to look for and some examples, see the links below.

Schools Fraud PowerPoint

Mandate Fraud and Social Engineering in Schools

Mandate fraud – When a fraudster tricks a victim into changing a direct debit, standing order or bank transfer. This is done by the fraudster pretending to be an organisation the victim already makes regular payments to, for example a business supplier or subscription service.

For further information on how Mandate Fraud is committed, the red flags to be aware of and the controls to help prevent this type of fraud, please refer to the Mandate Fraud PowerPoint.

Social Engineering – The manipulation of individuals to induce them to carry out specific actions or divulge information that can be of use to a fraudster. This type of fraud is committed by manipulation of normal human behaviours and therefore does not require a large amount of technical knowledge to be successful. Social engineering is a broad term referring to various fraudulent methods including phishing, vishing, and baiting.

For further information on the varying types of social engineering, the warning signs to look out for and the controls to help prevent this type of fraud, please refer to the Social Engineering PowerPoint.

Contact us if you have any concerns about potential fraud or if you have any questions

Emailfraud@suffolk.gov.uk

Phone Number: 01473 264399

Address: Internal Audit and Counter Fraud, Constantine House, Constantine Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 2HD