A council employee who spent more than £7,000 fraudulently could avoid prosecution.

Brent Council’s audit and standards advisory committee heard how a member of staff resigned after carrying out a series of “irregular transactions” from a payment card assigned to a council client.

The person responsible stepped down from their role and, while a council report suggested criminal proceedings could be “considered”, Michael Bradley, Brent Council’s head of audit and investigations, said these might not be pursued.

He explained that, at this stage, it was being treated as an “internal” matter, with disciplinary action taken.

“This is not a completed case yet – the individual did resign during our initial inquiries,” he said.

“Unfortunately, some of the processes around this area, were such that even if we’d got the evidence, we wouldn’t have been able to gather it to take forward for a successful prosecution.”

Despite this, committee member Cllr Shafique Choudhary said he was concerned that the individual in question “hasn’t been properly prosecuted”.

The notice came as part of the council’s latest report into counter fraud, which outlined the number of incidents from last year’s final quarter.

As well as the “irregular transactions” case, there were further incidents relating to misuse of IT, conflict of interest, recruitment irregularities and bribery or corruption.

The report also detailed the council’s progress in dealing with external fraud and that relating to social housing.

It noted that there was a “significant increase” in fraud referrals throughout last year, which it attributed to a new process set up in April 2019 to help tackle blue badge fraud.