Free school transport claimant cautioned for falsified information

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Bedford Borough Hall

The Fraud Investigation Team at Bedford Borough Council has cautioned a local woman after it was found that she supplied a family member’s address to the Council to obtain free school transport for her children.

The team discovered that the family had applied for their child to attend Lincroft Academy but had recently moved from an area where they would have qualified for free school transport to an area where they no longer qualify.

Following the move, the mother provided another family member’s address within the qualifying area, rather than their home address.

The parent was formally interviewed and admitted to intentionally providing a false address on the online form.

Although this false information would not have affected which school the child attended, it would have meant that the Council provided free school transport, to which their child was not entitled.

The Council provides free school transport for pupils who live over a certain distance from their nearest available school and costs the Council approximately £1,000 per pupil per year.

Councillor Michael Headley, Portfolio Holder for Finance, said: “While we understand that people are struggling financially, these schemes are created to provide support to those who need it most. We have a duty to do our due diligence and ensure that everyone receiving free school transport qualifies for assistance.

“I hope that this caution serves as a reminder to anyone else who might consider falsifying the information they submit to the Council. Intentionally submitting incorrect information is a crime and will be met with action from the Council.”

If you are aware of anyone who has provided false information to the Council to obtain a school placement or free school transport please contact the Investigation Service in confidence using our online reporting form at https://reportafraud.co.uk/bedfordbc.

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