A fraud investigation is underway after close to £1million of Bolton Council’s budget could not be accounted for, The Bolton News has learned.

It is understood the investigation centres on the Adult Services department and involves a figure of around £900,000.

The investigation was launched in the spring and coversaround six years.

Council officers said that the police were notified as soon as red flags were raised.

A Bolton Council spokesman said: “The council contacted the police after our own internal processes identified a concern that our audit team felt merited further investigation.

“As there is an ongoing police investigation in progress, we are unable to provide further comment at this time.”

Two people have been questioned as part of the investigation.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: “GMP and Bolton Council are aware of a report made in relation to alleged fraud offences and malpractice.

“The alleged offences took place between 2017 and March 2023.

“GMP’s Economic Crime Unit has launched an investigation and on Thursday, April 27, a 44 year-old man and a 42-year old-woman have both been interviewed under caution for an offence of fraud by abuse of position.

“Enquiries remain ongoing.”

Adult services provide social care for some of the most vulnerable in Bolton.

Council tax payers in Bolton pay an Adult Social Care (ASC) precept, which was introduced by the government in 2016/17 allowing those councils which provide social care to adults to increase their share of council tax.

For 2023/24 government permitted councils to raise the Adult Social Care precept by up to two per cent – which Bolton Council implemented. That will bring in £2.558m.

Adult Social Care services support some of the most vulnerable members of the community, largely supporting those in old age and adults with disabilities. Due to an ageing population demand on adult services has significantly increased pressure on the council’s budget.

The extra council tax income raised by the Adult Social Care precept helps to reduce this financial pressure.

This investigation comes soon after a Bolton Council employee defrauded around £16,400 from the authority by abusing his position as a theatre and events programmer at Albert Halls.

A council report states: “Fraud committed against the council is a theft of taxpayers’ money, can cause reputational damage and a loss of confidence amongst the public or stakeholders and have an adverse effect on staff morale. Through effective counter-fraud measures the council can reduce the risk of error, loss and fraud. These include arrangements to acknowledge, deter, prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute wrongdoing.”