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Many public services and facilities run by the council and partners will be affected during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Christmas opening hours

Why have I been asked to attend an interview concerning a caution?

We have asked you to attend an interview as we believe you have committed a criminal offence in obtaining Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Benefit that you were not entitled to.

This means that we have enough information to offer you a sanction as a result of this offence.

The ultimate sanction we are able to apply is to pass the details of your offence to the council legal services for prosecution.

In this instance we have decided to offer you an alternative to prosecution. We need to explain this process to you and ask if you will accept this alternative.

Do I have to attend an interview?

No, you don’t have to attend the interview.

But if you do not attend we will forward your case to legal services for prosecution.

Who can come to the interview with me?

Anyone can come to the interview with you.

We have already interviewed and cautioned you about this offence. You’ve had the opportunity to tell us your side of the events. We will not conduct this interview in the same way as the previous interview and it will not last as long.

Who will interview me?

One of our Senior Counter Fraud Officers, who have been specially trained to conduct theses interviews, will interview you.

Sometimes we will conduct joint investigations with other agencies, such as the Department for Work and Pensions and Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs. If there has been a joint investigation in your case, one of our officers and an officer from the other agency may interview you.

If this is the case we will make this clear to you at the time of the interview.

What happens at the interview?

We will explain what the offence is that we believe you have committed.

We will explain that as an alternative to prosecution, you are being offered the opportunity to accept the caution.

What is a caution?

A caution is a warning given in certain circumstances to a person who has committed and admitted an offence at a previous interview.

It is given as an alternative to prosecution.

At the interview we will ask you to sign a declaration admitting the offence and formally accepting a caution.

If you accept the caution we will take no further action in pursing the offence. However, you will still have to pay back the overpayment.

If you make any future offence, we will advise the court that you have already had previous cautions.

What happens if I do not accept the caution?

The offer is made as an alternative to us passing the case for prosecution.

Should you decline the offer of a caution, we will consider taking this action.

If the case is passed for legal proceedings we will advise the court of the offer and your refusal of the caution.