Bribery may be considered to be: “An inducement or reward offered, promised or provided to someone to perform their functions or activities improperly in order to gain a personal, commercial, regulatory and/or contractual advantage.”
Bribery is a criminal offence. Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust does not, and will not, pay bribes or offer improper inducements to anyone for any purpose; nor do we, or will we, accept bribes or improper inducements.
This approach applies to everyone who works for us, or with us. We do not, and will not, engage indirectly in, or otherwise encourage, bribery.
Proactively combating bribery has clear benefits for the Trust and the wider NHS.
It helps prevent:
- adverse damage to or criticism of the organisation’s reputation and funding;
- the potential diversion and/or loss of resources from NHS care;
- unforeseen and unbudgeted costs of investigations and/or defence of any legal action; and
- a negative impact on patient/stakeholder perceptions.
The Bribery Act includes specific criminal offences for those engaging in bribery which carry custodial sentences of up to 10 years and potentially unlimited fines.
These offences include the use of a third party as a conduit to channel bribes to others.
The Act also introduced a corporate offence which means that the Trust will be exposed to criminal liability, punishable by an unlimited fine, for failing to prevent bribery.
Liz Romaniak, Director of Finance, is the Executive Director with responsibility for taking an oversight of combatting bribery.
Any instance of suspected bribery should be reported using the Trust’s raising concerns process.
Fighting fraud in the NHS
The Board of TEWV NHS Foundation Trust takes its responsibilities to protect its resources against fraud, bribery and corruption seriously.
In 2016-17 losses to fraud in the NHS were estimated at £1.25 billion per annum – enough money to pay for over 40,000 staff nurses, or to purchase over 5,000 frontline ambulances. This is taxpayers’ money that is taken away from patient care and falls into the hands of criminals. When we say ‘fraud’, we refer to a range of economic crimes, such as fraud, bribery and corruption or any other illegal acts committed by an individual or group of individuals to obtain a financial or professional gain.
See the below video about what mandate fraud looks like.
How does the Trust fight fraud?
The Trust uses an internal NHS consortium which provides counter fraud services to 33 trusts across the North of England called auditone. They work closely with the trust to combat fraud with a team of experienced Counter Fraud Specialists delivering a full range of counter fraud, bribery and corruption services including prevention, detection and investigation. Our professionally qualified Counter Fraud Specialists work to identify potential fraud, bribery and corruption risks through policy and system reviews and suggests remedial action to reduce and mitigate these risks. They are experienced in carrying out timely criminal investigations, from referral to prosecution.
How can you help tackle fraud?
If you suspect fraud is occurring, you can help by reporting your suspicions confidentially to the fraud hotline.
Follow these simple guidelines when reporting your suspicions:
- Do make an immediate note of your concerns
- Do deal with the matter promptly if you feel your concerns are warranted
- Don’t do nothing
- Don’t be afraid to raise your concerns
- Don’t approach or accuse individuals yourself
- Don’t try to investigate the matter yourself
How to report fraud
Contact our Counter Fraud Specialist
Our Counter Fraud Specialists deal with all reports of suspected fraud in the strictest confidence. You will be informed of the progress of the investigation and you will not suffer any recriminations from voicing reasonably held suspicions.
Fraud Hotline: 0191 441 5936
All calls are made in strictest confidence and no attempt will be made to persuade you to provide your personal details if you want to remain anonymous. You will be given a call reference number which you can quote if you phone again with additional information.
Contact the National Fraud and Corruption reporting line
Alternatively, you can phone the National Fraud and Corruption reporting line: 0800 028 40 60
Freedom to speak up / whistleblowing policy