Kent Intelligence Network tackle small business rates relief fraud with HUB
The Kent Intelligence Network (KIN) is a Kent-wide partnership between local authorities whom have the shared objectives of the detection, prevention and deterrence of fraud and corruption, and where possible the recovery of taxpayers money that has been claimed unlawfully. The KIN consists of the following authorities: Ashford, Canterbury, Dartford, Dover, Folkestone & Hythe, Gravesham, Kent County Council, Kent Fire & Rescue Service, Maidstone, Medway, Sevenoaks, Swale, Thanet, Tonbridge & Malling and Tunbridge Wells.
With just over 57,000 rateable properties across Kent and a value of just over £54.5 million in awards given for Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR), the potential for fraud and error in this area was deemed significant enough for the KIN to invest in HUB. HUB is a SBRR solution designed to help identify fraud and error in cases that currently receive the relief.
HUB the nationwide small business rates relief solution
Developed by Destin Solutions, HUB acts as a central portal pooling together business ratepayer data published individually by each Authority and tracks the activities of businesses across multiple regions publishing their trading location and rateable value. Relief is typically awarded on the basis that a business only uses one property or has a rateable value of less than £15,000. HUB is used as a means to verify SBRR awards and notify Authorities of cases where awards may be incorrect and therefore require further investigation.
Validating SBRR awards
Prior to the KIN purchasing HUB, applications for SBRR were taken at face value. Kent Authorities had no mechanisms in place to carry out checks to confirm the application met the SBRR qualifying criteria so consequently, awards were made purely on the basis of the circumstances declared. With the introduction of HUB, the KIN now have the ability to validate all SBRR awards across the whole of Kent.
The majority of ratepayers claim SBRR correctly but HUB has shown that there are a minority who are gaining a financial advantage by not declaring their true circumstances when they apply for SBRR. HUB highlights cases where the award of SBRR may not be appropriate, resulting in further investigation and either confirmation or withdrawal of the relief.