Local PR for fraud fighting initiative
Brief: When the East Sussex Counter Fraud Hub wanted to raise its profile in the East Sussex area, the hub members turned to PRG’s PR experts. The hub were especially keen to raise awareness of the work East Sussex County Council’s blue badge team are doing in catching fraudsters across the region.
The hub were keen to showcase blue badge investigator Mark Jobling’s work which involves scouting various locations across the county and checking the badges in use. As well as encouraging people to report suspected blue badge fraud via their website, the hub also wanted to raise awareness of what constitutes blue badge fraud to prevent people from committing fraud unknowingly. In addition to this, emphasis was to be placed on the fact that blue badge fraud is not a victimless fraud.
Solution: Having previously organised two PR photo calls for the hub, PRG suggested a PR report on blue badge fraud in Eastbourne (one of the hub’s target areas) with local newspaper The Eastbourne Herald. Thanks to the paper’s established roots in the town and reputation as the leading local news source, the publication was the perfect fit to meet the hub’s needs and reach its target audience.
Reporter Ginny Sanderson joined Mark Jobling for the morning as he investigated blue badges in use across Eastbourne. As well as learning the effect blue badge fraud has on the local community, The Eastbourne Herald reporter was able to see the grateful response from locals to Mark’s work. Ginny also learned more about a recent high profile case investigated by Mark where a priest was caught fraudulently using a badge which it was revealed belonged to a deceased woman.
Results: With a readership of 36,906 adults, the Eastbourne Herald’s print and online coverage helped the hub to raise its profile in Eastbourne and encourage residents to report any incidences of suspected fraud via the hub website. A version of the story also appeared on the East Sussex Counter Fraud Hub website for visitors to find out what a typical day at work is like for Mark.
Following on from the success of the coverage, the East Sussex Counter Fraud Hub commissioned PRG’s digital marketing experts to create a series of Facebook advertising campaigns to reach residents of Eastbourne and the surrounding areas and capitalise on the success of the PR coverage.
The campaigns were split in to two types; prevention and reporting. The prevention campaign aims to prevent people committing council tax or social housing fraud by generating awareness of what constitutes fraud and urging people to contact the council immediately if their circumstances change.
The reporting advertising campaign encourages people to report any suspected frauds via the hub’s website and explains how fraudulent activity against local councils takes funds away from those in need.
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