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Christmas opening hours

Why have I been asked to attend an interview concerning an administrative penalty?

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 possible 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 an interview.

But if you do not attend the interview we will decide what further action we are likely to take with regard to the offence we believe you have committed.

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 administrative penalty.

What is an administrative penalty?

An administrative penalty is a type of fine and the rate is set down by legislation. It is calculated at 30 per cent of the amount of the overpayment that occurred due to the offence and is paid on top of the monies you were overpaid.

We will explain the process to you and ask you to sign an agreement accepting the administrative penalty.

If you sign the agreement you have 28 days to change your mind at which point any recoveries of the administrative penalty will be refunded to you.

What happens if I do not want to accept an administrative penalty or change my mind about accepting it?

We make this offer as an alternative to passing the case to legal services for consideration of prosecution. If you decline the offer or change your mind about accepting the administrative penalty, we will consider taking this action.