Latest Public Sector News

16.09.13

Tougher sentencing for benefit cheats

People who “flout” the benefit system will face increased sentences, new guidelines for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) set out.

Director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer QC, set out the stricter guidelines, which include the ability to charge benefit cheat suspects under the Fraud Act, with a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.

The financial threshold preventing benefit fraud cases of less than £20,000 being sent to court will also be abolished.

Starmer said: “It is a myth that 'getting one over on the system' is a victimless crime: the truth is we all pay the price. It is vital that we take a tough stance on this type of fraud and I am determined to see a clampdown on those who flout the system.

“The guidance for prosecutors is clear that if the evidence demonstrates an element of dishonesty, rather than just knowledge of a fraud, the appropriate charges should be used.

“This will ensure that following conviction, all options are on the table for magistrates and judges including custodial sentences. Indeed, prosecutors are also instructed not to shy away from using a range of legislation that carries higher sentences where it is merited.

“The cost to the nation incurred by benefit fraud should be at the forefront of lawyers' minds when considering whether a prosecution is in the public interest. The loss of £1.9bn of public money has a significant impact on communities up and down the country.

“Where frauds have been professionally planned, carried out over a long period of time and include attempts to conceal or destroy evidence, then we will make this plain when advising the courts on sentencing.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >

interviews

Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

Utilising data to best deliver meaningful public services

14/11/2019Utilising data to best deliver meaningful public services

Public Sector Executive’s Matt Roberts explains how living in a modern, interconnected world, as we do, means public sector organisations cannot afford to ignore the rol... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >