The University of Birmingham is committed to the prevention of fraud and the promotion of an anti-fraud culture.
The University operates a zero-tolerance attitude to fraud and requires staff to act honestly and with integrity at all times, and to report all reasonable suspicions of fraud.
The University will investigate all instances of actual, attempted and suspected fraud committed by staff, students, suppliers, subsidiaries and other third parties, and will seek to recover funds and assets lost through fraud. Perpetrators will be subject to disciplinary and/or legal action.
This policy is endorsed and supported by the Registrar and Secretary, Finance Director, Director of Legal Services and the Head of Internal Audit on behalf of the University Executive Board.
Definition of fraud
The term ‘fraud’ is commonly used to describe the use of deception to deprive, disadvantage or cause loss to another person or party, or to obtain financial gain. This can include theft, the misuse of funds or other resources, or more complicated crimes such as false accounting and the supply of false information.
Examples include purchasing items for personal use using University funds, unapproved use of University assets for personal gain, falsely claiming overtime or travel expenses, or undertaking activities for personal gain during paid University time without appropriate approval.
Individuals can be prosecuted under the Fraud Act 2006 if they make a false representation, fail to disclose information or abuse their position.
The University has established procedures to encourage staff to report actual, attempted or suspected fraud and/or other forms of illegal activity without fear of reprisal. The Fraud Response Plan clarifies the process to be followed and reporting of the investigation.
The Vice-Chancellor is responsible for:
- Ensuring that the reporting requirements under OfS and its arrangements relating to material adverse events are fulfilled, including incidences of significant fraud.
The Finance Director is responsible for:
- Developing, implementing and maintaining adequate systems of financial management and internal control to prevent and detect fraud.
The Registrar and Secretary is responsible for:
- Initiating the Fraud Response Plan on receipt of actual or suspected incidents of significant fraud or irregularity which are deemed to be of sufficient materiality.
The Director of Legal Services is responsible for:
- Initiating the investigation to ensure that it is performed under legal privilege where the suspected fraud could have significant legal, financial or reputational consequences.
The Head of Internal Audit is responsible for:
- Liaising with the Registrar and Secretary, Director of Legal Services, Finance Director and other officers as required as part of the investigation into actual or suspected fraud,
- Providing reports on serious incidents and fraud to the Audit Committee.
Staff are responsible for:
- Maintaining and monitoring compliance with internal controls and agreed policies and procedures,
- Immediately reporting details of any suspected fraud, whether by an employee or an external organisation, and
- Assisting in the investigation of suspected fraud.
Staff should report concerns about actual, attempted or suspected fraud to their line manager, who will in turn inform the Registrar and Secretary in line with the University’s Whistleblowing Policy. Advice may be obtained from the Head of Internal Audit, Finance Director, or Director of Legal Services over the appropriate steps to take.
Staff should not attempt to investigate any fraud themselves.
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 protects employees who raise concerns about certain matters of public interest in good faith. Staff can obtain free independent advice from the charity Protect (formerly Public Concern at Work).
Read our Whistleblowing Policy / Appendix C (PDF - 139Kb)
Fraud response plan
The University has established guidelines for senior managers on the immediate actions to be taken in the event of a fraud being discovered or suspected within their area of responsibility. It covers reporting and recording requirements, securing evidence and preventing further losses, and the investigation process.
Read our Fraud Response Plan / Appendix E (PDF - 139Kb)
Other relevant policies
Download our Anti-Fraud Policy Statement (PDF - 271Kb)