Bolton Council is aiming to make a “fraud report” available to the public later in the year.

This came after a town hall discussion about the details of fraud investigations and cases that the authority is at liberty to make public.

Public and the press were excluded from full discussion of the “annual fraud strategy” but committee members said they felt the public should be informed about at least some details.

Chair Cllr Martyn Cox said: “There are two points here that I think we need to separate.

“One is discussing individual cases with individual consequences.

The Bolton News: The meeting took place at Bolton Town HallThe meeting took place at Bolton Town Hall (Image: Newsquest)

“But a second one is informing the public on an annual basis what fraud we’ve discovered, what fraud we’ve investigated, what that has cost the council and what are the consequences of that so that public have some understanding as to what’s gone on within the council.

“If we can’t do that today then fine but the idea that we never publish it when the guidance notes that I’ve been given are very clear about publishing it, I don’t know why we can’t do that.”

One of the most high profile fraud cases Bolton has seen in recent years concluded in September 2022.

This was when former Britain's Got Talent star James Edgington, then 39, was given a suspended sentence for defrauding around £16,400 from Bolton Council.

Edgington, of Thicketfold Road, did so by abusing his position as a theatre and events programmer at the Albert Halls between February 2019 and April 2021.

This week Bolton Council’s audit committee privately heard findings from the authority’s annual fraud report, which had been taken off the agenda at the previous meeting.

But committee members first questioned why this had to be held in private, away from public scrutiny.

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Cllr Cox said: “Currently we have no commitment to publish the findings of an annual fraud report.”

He asked if the council could publish the report findings at a further meeting of the audit committee later in the year.

Committee member Cllr Roger Hayes agreed that he felt at least some of the findings should be made public.

Cllr Hayes said: “I think that there’s certainly got to be an outcome at the end on fraud and that’s that we take it seriously as a council and that we as an audit committee take it seriously.”

Council officials told the committee that an annual fraud strategy report that did not contain confidential details could be published as “an interim measure” later in the year.