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Question 1 _50 Marks_

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									                        IRRV CERTIFICATE IN LOCAL
                          TAXATION AND BENEFITS
                                               Scotland
                                            December 2009



        PREVENTION AND DETECTION OF
    HOUSING AND COUNCIL TAX BENEFIT FRAUD
                                                   Scotland

Wednesday 8th December 2009
1.55 pm- 5.00 pm (incl. 5 mins. for reading)


                                            Time allowed: 3 hours



                                           Answer SIX questions
                                       All questions carry equal marks

                            Candidates should illustrate their answers with
                            reference to appropriate case law and legislation.

                             Where questions are divided into sections, marks
                             will be allocated equally unless otherwise
                             indicated.

                                               Maximum marks: 300




Prevention and Detection of Housing and Council Tax Benefit Fraud, Scotland, IRRV Certificate in Local Taxation and
Benefits, December 2009
                                                    Page 1 of 11
    1        In 2001 the law was amended to allow authorised officers increased powers to
             request information from institutions.


             a) Which section of which piece of legislation introduced the amendment and who
                monitors the registration of the Authorised Officers created in this way? Why is it
                necessary to monitor them?                                       (15 marks)
             b) Can all Authorised Officers request information under this legislation and if not
                why not?                                                         (10 marks)
             c) What additional information can be asked for?                    (10 marks)
             d) Name FIVE institutions from which Authorised Officers with the existing
                powers can obtain information and THREE from whom they can’t.
                                                                                 (15 marks)



    2.       What do ALL the following abbreviations stand for and what year did each piece
             of legislation become law? For each piece of legislation, explain how it is used by
             Fraud Officers.

             a)   WRA
             b)   SSAA
             c)   POCA
             d)   SSFA
             e)   LGFA


    3.       An understanding of the judicial system is important when preparing cases for
             prosecution.

             a) With regard to common law in Scotland, name and briefly describe THREE
                specific common law crimes that could be used to prosecute someone
                suspected of committing benefit fraud.                          (15 marks)
             b) Under statutory law, give THREE examples of offences that could be used to
                prosecute benefit fraudsters.                                   (15 Marks)
             c) What are the two „tests‟ that need to apply before a sanction can be imposed
                and how are they applied?                                       (10 marks)
             d) Explain with examples the main differences between summary and indictable
                offences.                                                       (10 marks)




Prevention and Detection of Housing and Council Tax Benefit Fraud, Scotland, IRRV Certificate in Local Taxation and
Benefits, December 2009
                                                    Page 2 of 11
      4.     Your local authority is designing a new housing and council tax benefit
             application form. You are asked to assist in fraud-proofing the new form with
             specific reference to the 'declaration' on the form. Write a declaration that
             includes information to customers that covers:

             a) their obligation/s to the local authority; and
             b) what happens with the information they provide.

             Your answer is expected to contain the salient points which should be found in all
             HB/CTB application forms.


      5.     Surveillance is often an intricate part of an investigation.
             a) Explain with examples the difference between intrusive and directed
                surveillance.                                               (20 marks)
             b) Name and describe two areas regulated by the Regulation of Investigatory
                Powers (Scotland) Act 2000 legislation (RIP(S)A).           (20 marks)
             c) Which RIP(S)A form is used to review surveillance and which one is used to
                cancel an operation?                                        (10 marks)


      6.     Explain with examples what you understand by the P.E.A.C.E model of
             interviewing.


      7.     The interview under caution (IUC) is an important part of an investigation.

             a) How would an investigator know when to conduct an IUC? (15 marks)
             b) What is the caution?                                           (10 marks)
             c) Name FIVE ways in which the Human Rights Act 1998 could be breached in
                an IUC.                                                        (10 marks)
             d) Explain with examples what must occur at an IUC in terms of corroboration
                before a procurator fiscal can/will accept a case for prosecution.
                                                                               (15 marks)




Prevention and Detection of Housing and Council Tax Benefit Fraud, Scotland, IRRV Certificate in Local Taxation and
Benefits, December 2009
                                                    Page 3 of 11
      8.     Mr & Mrs Young, both aged 68, present themselves at a local office and speak
             with a fraud investigation officer as they want to 'own up' to failing to declare a
             works pension Mr Young has had for several years but had failed to declare on
             his housing and council tax benefit claim form.

                 a)       Explain the initial action you would take and why.  (15 marks)
                 b)       As the Youngs have volunteered the information, what further action
                          could be taken? Explain your answer.                (20 Marks)
                 c)       What considerations would be required in this case? (15 marks)


      9.     With regard to the investigation:

             a) What THREE points must an investigator establish in order to prove fraud?
                                                                            (15 marks)
             b) Explain how you think proving each point could be achieved.
                                                                            (20 marks)
             c) What has to happen before an overpayment can be classed as fraud for
                subsidy purposes?                                           (15 marks)



      10. Some investigations require a different approach to others.

             a) In a “living together” investigation what is the difference between a fictitious
                desertion and a collusive separation?                           (10 marks)
             b) Name and explain FIVE investigative points that would need to be proved in
                this type of investigation.                                     (15 marks)
             c) Name FIVE people from whom you may want to take a witness statement to
                advance your case in a living together situation.               (10 marks)
             d) Name FIVE government departments from which an investigator may request
                information. For each, state the type of information available. (15 marks)




Prevention and Detection of Housing and Council Tax Benefit Fraud, Scotland, IRRV Certificate in Local Taxation and
Benefits, December 2009
                                                    Page 4 of 11
         Prevention and Detection of Housing and Council Tax Benefit Fraud, Scotland,

                                             Examiners Comments

                                                 December 2009


The overall standard for this paper was high, in total 04 candidates sat the examination at the
December 2009 sitting. All candidates achieved indisputable pass marks.

The pass mark for this paper was high with candidates achieving a mark above 200 reflecting the
quality of the answers provided.

Congratulations are extended to those candidates who sat the paper and achieved the relevant
pass mark.

Some overall comments I have are: -

1) When candidates are asked to give examples with their answer, I expect them to elaborate their
answer, some candidates either failed to do this or the brevity of their example was insufficient to
qualify for a full mark.

2) If candidates wish to use acronyms, these must be preceded by a full description of the acronym,
for example, if a candidate wishes to use SSFA 1997, they must first write out "Social Security
(Fraud) act 1997 followed by (SSFA 1997)" and thereafter use the abbreviated version. This should
be repeated for all questions. The reason for this is that the candidate needs to show knowledge of
the definition of the acronym being used.

3) Some candidates tend to over-elaborate their answer, by doing so they increase the risk of
introducing irrelevant or inaccurate references. This can adversely affect the outcome of what may
have been a potentially good answer. My advice is to provide as comprehensive an answer as
possible and, provided it has the salient points being looked for it will achieve the mark assigned to
it. If it appears to 'waffle' there is a probability I will consider the answer as reflecting the students
lack of knowledge on the subject and would mark accordingly.

4) In one question in particular candidates were asked to write the caution used in Scotland. One
paper had the caution used in England and Wales while another appeared to be loosely based on
the one used by American law enforcement agencies.

5) Take time to read the question! A couple of papers indicated the candidate did not read the
question properly, consequently the mark scored reflected this fact.

6) Overall, candidates showed a good understanding of the questions they opted to answer and
this is reflected in the marks awarded.




Prevention and Detection of Housing and Council Tax Benefit Fraud, Scotland, IRRV Certificate in Local Taxation and
Benefits, December 2009
                                                    Page 5 of 11
Question 1 – In 2001 the Social Security Administration Act 1992 was amended to allow authorised
officers increased powers to request information from institutions.


             a) Which section of which piece of legislation introduced the amendment and who monitors
                the registration of the Authorised Officers created in this way? Why is it necessary to
                monitor them?                                           (15 marks)
             e) Can all Authorised Officers request information under this legislation and if not why
                not?                                                     (10 marks)
             f) What additional information can be asked for?                        (10 marks)
             g) Name Five institutions from which Authorised Officers with the existing powers can
                obtain information and 3 from whom they can’t.            (15 marks)

A good answer would have included the following: -


           A) Social Security Administration Act 1992, Section 109B (as amended by the Social
           Security Fraud Act 2001) DWP to monitor to ensure that there is not an abuse of the
           system
           b) No must have completed the new powers authorised officer training provided by the
           DWP-take PINS 9a authorised officer course
           c) info from banks, electricity Insurances Sky, Water, Credit companies
           d) Can -pension providers, employers, agencies company providing goods to a person to
           sell on commission providers such as double glazing,compensation providers Local
           Authorities re licences Can't as per Qc




    Question 2 – What do the following abbreviations stand for and what year did each piece of
    legislation become law. For each piece of legislation, explain how it is used by Fraud Officers.
             f) WRA
             g) SSAA
             h) POCA
             i) SSFA
             j) LGFA


The answer I was looking for was: -



             a) Welfare Reform Act 2007 (allows LA's to
             investigate most benefits)
             b) Social Security Administration act 1992
             Enabling Legislation
             c) Proceeds of Crimes act 2002 (powers to
             confiscate goods and money.)
             d) Social Security Fraud act 1997or 2001(1997,
             greater powers to obtain information, introduced
Prevention and Detection of Housing and Council Tax Benefit Fraud, Scotland, IRRV Certificate in Local Taxation and
Benefits, December 2009
                                                    Page 6 of 11
             admin penalties. 2001, new authorised officer
             powers
             e) Local Government Finance act 1992.
             Introduced Council Tax, consequently Council
             tax benefit fraud.




    4.       Question 3 - An understanding of the judicial system is important when preparing cases
             for prosecution.

             a) With regards to common law in Scotland, name and briefly describe three specific
                common law crimes that could be used to prosecute someone suspected of
                committing benefit fraud?
                                                       (15 marks)
             b) Under Statutory law, give THREE examples of offences that could be used to
                prosecute benefit fraudsters.
                                                             (15 Marks)
             c) What are the two „tests‟ that need to apply before a sanction can be imposed and
                how are they applied?
                                                             (10 marks)
             d) Explain with examples the main differences between summary and indictable
                offences.
                                                             (10 marks)

Answers were:




 a) Common law: Fraud, Forgery, Uttering, Theft,


 b) Statute Law: Social Security act. S.111(A). S.111(1A). S.
 111(1)(A). S.112 or any specific variations


 c) Evidential and public interest tests: Sufficient evidence must
 exist to establish a crime has been committed: It is in the public
 interest the crime is sanctioned


 d) indictable- most serious common law or statutory offences
 prosecuted under Solemn procedures in a Sheriff and Jury or
 High Court. Summary cause prosecuted in the Sheriff court.




Prevention and Detection of Housing and Council Tax Benefit Fraud, Scotland, IRRV Certificate in Local Taxation and
Benefits, December 2009
                                                    Page 7 of 11
    Question 4 - Your local authority is designing a new housing and council tax benefit application
          form. You are asked to assist in fraud-proofing the new form with specific reference to
          the declaration on the form. Write a declaration that includes information to customers
          that covers;

             a) Their obligation/s to the local authority.                                    (25 max)
             b) What happens with the information they provide.                         (25 max)




Answers to Q 4:

 a) Declaration that information is TRUE, CORRECT and
 COMPLETE and that no FALSE STATEMENT has been made
 and they understand their requirement to declare any CHANGES
 IN CIRCUMSTANCES
 b)The information provided used to process HB/CTB.
 May be shared with others in order to prevent and/or detect
 crime/fraud and to protect public funds.
 May be checked/validated with certain third parties




      Question 5 - Surveillance is often an intricate part of an investigation.
          d) Explain with examples the difference between intrusive and directed surveillance.
                                                       (20 marks)
          e) Name and describe two areas regulated by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers
              (Scotland) Act 2000 legislation                  (20 marks)
          f) Which RIP(S)A form is used to review surveillance and which one used to cancel an
              operation?                              (10 marks)



Answers were:



 a) Intrusive surveillance is surveillance that takes place in private
 places such as a private residence or vehicle where individuals
 would have a high expectation of privacy.

 b) Directed surveillance- surveillance which is covert but not
 intrusive and done for a specific reason. Covert surveillance,
 Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS). Interception
 acquisition and disclosure of communications access to electronic
 data protected by encryption or passwords

Prevention and Detection of Housing and Council Tax Benefit Fraud, Scotland, IRRV Certificate in Local Taxation and
Benefits, December 2009
                                                    Page 8 of 11
 c) Review - RIP(S)A2 Cancel - RIP(S)A3



Question 6- Explain with examples what you understand by the P.E.A.C.E
      model of interviewing.

Answers:



Planning/Preparation: Plan and prepare e.g. questions
Engage and explain: Engage with interviewee and explain reason
for interview
Account: Give an account / ask for an account of matters relative
to the examination
Closure: Close the interview when sufficient information obtained
EVALUATE; Assess how the interview went e.g. good points/bad
points things to bear in mind for future ref.

      Question 7 - The interview under caution (IUC) is an important part of an                  investigation.

             e) How would an investigator know when to conduct an IUC? (15 marks)
             f) What is the caution?                                 (10 marks)
             g) Name FIVE ways in which the Human Rights act 1998 could be breached in          an
             IUC.                                              (10 marks)
             h) Explain with examples what must occur at an IUC in terms of corroboration before a
                procurator fiscal can/will accept a case for prosecution.
                                                                          (15 marks)

Answers:


 a). suspicion based on evidence following a risk assessment and
 taking into account Mitigating circumstances/factors


 b). You do not have to / are not obliged to say anything unless
 you wish to do so. Anything you do say will be taken down in
 writing/recorded and may be used in evidence. (NOT: You have
 the right to remain silent!)

 c). Not cautioning, not offering legal representation, Cold/hot
 room, inadequate lighting, aggression/bullying, oppression, not
 allowing support/appropriate adult etc

 d). Corroboration is required at all IUC's if a case is likely to be
 sanctioned. The interview must be corroborated by another
 witness.

Prevention and Detection of Housing and Council Tax Benefit Fraud, Scotland, IRRV Certificate in Local Taxation and
Benefits, December 2009
                                                    Page 9 of 11
             Question 8 - Mr & Mrs Young, both aged 68, present themselves at a local office and
             speak with a fraud investigation officer as they want to 'own up' to failing to declare a
             works pension Mr Young has had for several years but had failed to declare on his
             Housing and Council tax benefit claim form.

                 a)     Explain the initial action you would take and why. (15 marks)
                 b)     As the Young's have volunteered the information, what further action
                 could be taken? Explain your answer.                 (20 Marks)
                 c)     What considerations would be required in this case? (15 marks)


Answers:

 a) The Youngs should be formally interviewed (and cautioned) at
 the earliest opportunity and statements obtained about their
 failure and the dates the FTD occurred. Once sufficient info
 available, the file to be passed to a DM for overpayment decision



 b). If DM decides benefit has been overpaid by their failure, then
 Caution, Adpen or Prosecution could be applied in spite of the
 admission.

 c). Age, social circumstances, reasons for the FTD, medical
 conditions, remorse shown, other mitigation.




      Question 9 - With regard to the investigation


      a) What three points must an investigator establish in order to prove fraud?
                                                                    (15marks)
        b) Explain how you think proving each point could be achieved.       (20 marks)

        c) What has to happen before an overpayment can be classed as fraud for subsidy
        purposes?                                                  (15 marks)

Answers:
 a) knowledge intent action
 b) Action -Collecting enough evidence to present the interviewee
 at the IUC to show how the fraud was perpetuated Knowledge-
 questioning in IUC re previous/present claims to prove they knew
 what they were doing was wrong. Intent - questioning in IUC re
 time taken to report, dishonesty financial problems etc
 c) Admittance in an IUC, Acceptance of ad pen, successful
Prevention and Detection of Housing and Council Tax Benefit Fraud, Scotland, IRRV Certificate in Local Taxation and
Benefits, December 2009
                                                    Page 10 of 11
 prosecution


             Question 10 - Some investigations require a different approach to others

             e) In a “living together” investigation what is the difference between a fictitious desertion
                and a collusive separation?                        (10 marks)
             f) Name and explain FIVE investigative points that would need to be proved in this
                type of investigation.                                     (15 marks)
             g) Name 5 people from whom you may want to take a witness statement to advance
                your case in a living together situation.              (10 marks)
             h) Name 5 government departments from which an investigator may request
                information. For each, state the type of information available. (15 marks)

Answers:
 a). fictitious desertion- couple pretend to live apart so that
 claimant can claim benefit as having been deserted ie working
 away from home. Collusive separation: couple deliberately live
 apart so that claimant can claim benefit as having been deserted
 or duty or imposition of a similar nature.
 b) living in same household, sexual relationship, stable
 relationship, children (and how they refer/know partner as)
 neighbours perception of couple, financial (joint bank accounts,
 credit etc)
 c) Police, neighbours family employers landlords friends
 customers (self employed) credit companies/utility companies Sky
 d) HMRC (PAYE details Tax credits) DWP national benefit
 records DVLA car details LA ctax registration details Home Office
 details of immigrants Passport Office, Police intell, HMCS
 convictions Pension Service




Prevention and Detection of Housing and Council Tax Benefit Fraud, Scotland, IRRV Certificate in Local Taxation and
Benefits, December 2009
                                                    Page 11 of 11

								
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