Publication - FOI/EIR release

SAAS - fraud cases that have sought prosecution: FOI release

Published: 28 Jun 2019

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
28 Jun 2019
SAAS - fraud cases that have sought prosecution: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/19/01351
Date received: 29 May 2019
Date responded: 25 Jun 2019
Information requested

Below is a list of what you asked for in your request for the period January 2016 - present:

  1. The basis of decisions where we have decided not to seek prosecution
  2. Guidelines on how we decide to seek criminal prosecution
  3. The number of cases where we determined there was a fraud and sought prosecution
  4. A breakdown of cases where we determined there was a fraud for sums over £9,999
  5. For those cases where we determined a fraud for the sum of over £9,999 how many were passed for prosecution
  6. For those cases where we determined a fraud for the sum of over £9,999 how many individuals repaid and how much in each case
Response

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because exemptions apply.

SAAS is a non-police Specialist Reporting Agency (SRA) and where we believe a criminal offence has taken place and there is sufficient evidence to support this, we report the case directly to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) . They will then consider the report and make a decision on what action to take, which may be to seek prosecution.

Further information about the COPFS Prosecution Policy and Guidance can be found on their website at: https://www.copfs.gov.uk/publications/prosecution-policy-and-guidance 

In regards to points numbered 1 and 2 of your request, exemptions under section 34 (Investigations by Scottish public authorities and proceedings arising out of such investigations), and section 35 (Law Enforcement) apply.

Please see the below table which shows the information that we are able to provide in relation to points 3, 4 and 5 of your request.   

Period No. of cases over £9,999 where fraud was determined No. of cases over £9,999 referred to the Procurator Fiscal Total No. of cases referred to the Procurator Fiscal
2016 - 2018 19 5 9

We have been unable to provide a breakdown of the data you have requested by calendar year as an exemption under section(s) 38 (personal information) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. 

In regards to point number 6 of your request an exemption applies under section 12 of FOISA (excessive cost of compliance).

The reasons why the above exemptions apply are explained more fully in the Annex to this letter.

Reasons for not providing information - Annex
An exemption applies

An exemption(s) under section(s) 12 (Excessive Cost of Compliance) applies to some of the information you have requested. 

Public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under section 12. In relation to point 6 of your request the costs of locating and retrieving the information from an archived system would exceed the upper cost limit of £600. 

An exemption under section(s) 38 (personal information) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. The number of cases in some circumstances is below 5. It is our policy that where the number of individuals is below 5 we would not publish this as this may lead to an individual being identified.

The above exemptions are not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemptions. 

An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test
An exemption(s) under section(s) 34 (Investigations by Scottish public authorities and proceedings arising out of such investigations) and section(s) 35 (law enforcement) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. 

These exemptions apply to information about investigations, the circumstances around how we make decisions about reporting to the COPFS and how we conduct our activities and business function. We are unable to provide this information as publishing information about our practices may jeopardise our ability to prevent and detect future fraud and crime.

These exemptions are subject to the ‘public interest test’.  Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemptions.  We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemptions as our ability to prevent and detect crime must be protected.

About FOI
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG