The joint initiative is funded by the Department of Communities and Local Government and was formed in 2015.
Historically, the focus of dedicated fraud teams in district and borough councils across East Sussex had been on benefit fraud and there were limited resources to address non-benefit fraud. However, since the introduction of the ESCFH a number of strategies are being developed and shared in order to formulate a more coordinated approach to tackling fraud. Furthermore the ESCFH has been building closer working relations with other organisations and authorities across Sussex and surrounding counties.
A brand identity and news of the recently established ESCFH had yet to be made public however which is why PRG was tasked with helping to promote the partnership…
Based on more than 36 years’ PR, design and marketing communications experience, whilst considering the multiplicity of local authorities involvement and outreach needs, PRG set out a communications plan and organised a photocall event for ESCFH members with local and regional media at Seaford’s Martello Tower on 14th September, to kick start the public awareness campaign for the scheme.
During the organisation phase of the launch event, PRG created a brand new logo and strapline for the East Sussex Counter Fraud Hub along with a banner which was proudly displayed by the members at the photocall event.
The aim of the photocall event was to:
- Attract media coverage
- Introduce the East Sussex Counter Fraud Hub to the press and the general public and generate awareness of its work.
- Highlight the work of the East Sussex Counter Fraud Hub to date.
- Encourage calls to the hub’s Freephone number.
In attendance at the photocall event were members of the press, official event photographer Jim Holden, as well as Debbie Alais, Housing Benefit Officer at Rother District Council; Councillor Bill Giles, Lead Member for Finance at Lewes District Council; Louise Powell, Corporate Fraud Investigations Manager at Eastbourne Borough Council and Co-ordinator for the East Sussex Counter Fraud Hub; Chris Stephens, Housing Services Manager at Wealden District Council; Cllr Ann Norman, Chair of the Audit and Standards Committee at Brighton & Hove City Council; Russell Banks, Head of Assurance at East Sussex County Council; Tony Lockey, Income Protection Manager at Rother District Council; Tom Davies, Head of Audit at Hastings Borough Council; Graham Liddell, Head of Audit at Brighton & Hove City Council; Bob Allen, Principal Audit Manager at Lewes District Council.
PRG has the experience and vision to generate maximum media coverage with any sized budget. We utilised our extensive book of media contacts to generate maximum coverage for the ESCFH photocall event with the result that news of the ESCFH launch, plus the fraud hotline number, had the potential reach of a staggering 6.8 million people and was picked up by all the major local and regional broadcast, print and digital media outlets in Sussex, including BBC South East News and ITV Meridian News.