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Regional journalists urged to help national investigation into pandemic fraud

Gareth Davies newRegional journalists are being urged to get involved in a nationwide investigation into fraud involving local authorities during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bureau Local has launched a call for volunteers as part of a project exploring fraud connected to grants given to businesses in England during the Covid-19 crisis.

The volunteers are being asked to send requests for information to councils under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014, which gives people the right to inspect local authority accounts and related documents during a set period each year.

The crowdsourced project is being led by Gareth Davies, pictured, former chief reporter at the Croydon Advertiser.

Gareth said: “As with its previous investigations, Bureau Local, which is part of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, has drawn up a reporting recipe that acts as a guide for volunteers taking part in the project.

“The investigation follows a recent report by the Public Accounts Committee which highlighted how Covid-19 support grants, including several administered by local authorities, had been subject to widespread fraud and error.”

Interested parties should email garethdavies@tbij.com.

You can read all our coronavirus-related stories here.