Corporate Information

Anti Fraud Service

What is fraud, bribery and corruption?

Fraud, in simple terms, can be described as theft by deception. 

Fraud involves dishonestly:

  • making a false representation, or
  • failing to disclose information, or
  • abusing a position held

with the intention of:

  • making a financial gain, or
  • causing (or risk causing) a financial loss.
  • The gain or loss must be in money or other property. 

Fraud is a deliberately dishonest act – it does not include innocent mistakes, but it does include ‘attempts’ where the fraudster fails to get what they intended through their fraud.

LEGAL PENALTY: Under the Fraud Act 2006, fraud carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment, a fine, or both.

BRIBERY- under the Bribery Act 2010, a bribe is a financial or other advantage intended to induce or reward the ‘improper performance’ of a person’s official public functions or work activities.  Generally, this means offering or receiving something of value to influence a transaction that someone shouldn’t do (offences include offering, promising, giving, requesting, accepting, or agreeing to accept).  

Section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010 includes a ‘corporate’ offence, which means that commercial organisations may be held legally liable if they fail to take steps to prevent bribery by those who are associated with it.  There is a defence for organisations if they can prove that they had in place adequate procedures designed to prevent bribery from occurring on its behalf.  This law is applicable to NHS bodies, meaning that the Trust must put measures in place to prevent bribery from happening.  Please see the Trust’s Bribery Act Statement.

LEGAL PENALTY: Bribery carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment, a fine, or both.

CORRUPTION is where the integrity or honesty of a person, government, company, or organisation is manipulated and compromised for personal gain. 

Corruption can range from being endemic within dysfunctional political systems and institutions, right down to one individual acting alone within an organisation.

‘Corruption’ is an umbrella term covering a number of different offences.  Some definitions of corrupt behaviour are as follows:

•             Bribery – offering or receiving something of value to influence a transaction that someone shouldn’t do

•             Conflict of interest – where an employee has an economic or personal interest in a transaction

•             Extortion - demanding money/goods with the threat of physical or business harm if demands      are not met

•             Kickback – a portion of the value of a contract demanded as a bribe by an official for securing the contract

•             Corporate espionage - theft of trade secrets; theft of intellectual property; copyright piracy

•             Embezzlement - misappropriation of someone else’s money or property placed in your Trust

Corruption is a continual worldwide problem – have a look at the news today and see how long it takes you to find the first news story of corruption occurring either at home or abroad!

Getting the culture right

The NHS takes a proactive wide-ranging approach to tackling NHS fraud, bribery and corruption.  It aims to create and embed a culture where crime against the NHS is not tolerated; and particularly promoting work environments where NHS staff know how to spot potential wrongdoing, and feel safe to raise their concerns and suspicions in the right way with the confidence that they will have them listened to.  This should have a deterrent effect on those who may otherwise have contemplated committing offences against the NHS, if they think that they may be detected, reported and punished. 

How do I go about reporting if I suspect NHS fraud, bribery or corruption? 

Please report if you have reasonable suspicions - you do not have to have solid proof or evidence to raise your concerns.  There are a number of ways to report your concerns.

  • Call the NHS CFA National Fraud and Corruption Reporting Line: 0800 020 4060 (Freephone 24hours)
  • Complete the NHS CFA National Online Reporting Form at

This is a national service independent to the rest of the NHS.  User rights are protected and information is treated confidentially.  Users are able to update their referral at a later date if they wish to.

Click to read guidance on "Preventing supplier fraud against the NHS"