The NHSCFA estimates that the NHS is vulnerable to £300.4 m worth of procurement and commissioning each year. Please see our latest strategic intelligence assessment for more details

Procurement and commissioning fraud relates to allegations of collusion, bribery and corruption within the pre-tender stages of the procurement and commissioning process. It also relates to false, intentionally inflated or duplicate invoices within the post tender stages.

Procurement and commissioning fraud is an issue of concern across the whole of the NHS with indications that procurement rules are not being adhered to.

Fraudsters are opportunistic and it is therefore very important for NHS trusts, procurement teams, finance teams and directors to ensure their processes are resilient to the risk of fraud.

For a full list of fraud types in this category, please check Procurement and commissioning in the fraud definitions.

To assist you on how to spot the signs of procurement and commissioning fraud and how to put measures in place to stop this type of fraud, please see below.

Think prevention

  • Do you know what your procurement regulations are?
  • Are you managing your contracts and their associated invoices?
  • Is there anything suspicious about the relationship between staff and suppliers?

Guidance available

Procurement fraud prevention animation

This animation provides a definition of fraud against the NHS and uses a case example (based on a real case of procurement fraud) to illustrate it.

Mandate fraud prevention animation

This animation shows an example of a mandate fraud (also known as payment diversion fraud) stopped by the quick thinking of an NHS employee, to support a wider message on fraud prevention.

Case study 1

Three NHS managers were sentenced to a of total of 14 years imprisonment for defrauding their local health board of £822,236.22.

One of the managers had responsibility for sourcing external contractors, approving tenders and quotes, authorising payments and validating works as complete. He set up a fictitious company to pay himself for work he was supposed to be contracting out on behalf of the health board. The two other managers became complicit when, having discovered the fraudulent activity, accepted cash bribes in order to allow the fraud to continue.

The investigation established the fraud was well planned and deliberate with the stolen monies spent on funding a luxury lifestyle instead of being used for vital patient care.

Case study 2

A locksmith employed by an NHS Foundation Trust was found guilty of fraud by abuse of position and sentenced to six years in prison. He defrauded the NHS of almost £600,000 by commissioning his own company to carry out work for the Trust, charging extortionate mark-ups of up to 1,200%.

The locksmith used the stolen money to lead a lavish lifestyle, money that should have been avaialable to spend on vital NHS resources and patient care.

Under the Proceeds of Crime Act, the NHSCFA will seek to recover the full benefit amount.

How to report fraud

Report any suspicions of fraud or attempted fraud to the NHS Counter Fraud Authority online at or through the NHS Fraud and Corruption Reporting Line 0800 028 4060 (powered by Crimestoppers). All reports are treated in confidence and you have the option to report anonymously. You can also report to your nominated Local Counter Fraud Specialist if you are an NHS employee or contractor.