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Social Security Administration (Fraud) Act 1997

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

12Inspectors appointed by authorities

After section 110 of the [1992 c. 5.] Social Security Administration Act 1992 insert—

110AAppointment of inspectors by authorities

(1)An authority administering housing benefit or council tax benefit may appoint persons to be inspectors.

(2)The Secretary of State may notify an authority as to—

(a)the number of persons who may be appointed as inspectors by the authority; and

(b)the manner in which appointments shall be made.

(3)The authority may only appoint as inspectors persons employed by—

(a)the authority;

(b)another authority, or a joint committee, exercising any function relating to housing benefit or council tax benefit on behalf of the authority; or

(c)a person authorised to exercise any function of the authority, or that other authority, relating to housing benefit or council tax benefit.

(4)A person within subsection (3)(c) above may only be appointed as an inspector with the consent of the Secretary of State.

(5)Appointment as an inspector shall be for a period not exceeding one year; but such an appointment—

(a)may be renewed any number of times; and

(b)may be terminated at any time by the appointing authority or, in the case of a person within subsection (3)(c) above, by either that authority or the Secretary of State.

(6)Every person appointed as an inspector shall be given a certificate of his appointment.

110BPowers of inspectors appointed under section 110A

(1)An inspector may—

(a)on showing his certificate of appointment as an inspector (if required to do so), enter any premises liable to inspection under this section at any reasonable time together with such other persons as he considers it necessary to take with him;

(b)make inquiries about, and examine documents relating to, any person believed by him to be a benefit claimant or a benefit recipient; and

(c)interview any person found by him in any premises liable to inspection under this section or believed by him to hold or have access to information or documents relating to any person believed by him to be a benefit claimant or a benefit recipient.

(2)Any person liable to supply information or produce documents under this section shall—

(a)supply to an inspector all such information; and

(b)produce for his inspection, or supply him with a copy of, all such documents,

as he may reasonably require for the purpose of ascertaining whether housing benefit or council tax benefit is or was payable to or in respect of any person.

(3)Information, documents and copies supplied or produced under subsection (2) above shall be in such form as the inspector may reasonably require.

(4)No one shall be required under subsection (2) above to answer any questions or to give evidence tending to incriminate himself or, in the case of a person who is married, his or her spouse.

(5)Premises are liable to inspection under this section if an inspector has reasonable grounds for believing that—

(a)any persons are employed there;

(b)a trade or business is being carried on from there; or

(c)any records relating to a trade or business are kept there;

but a private dwelling-house is not liable to inspection under this section unless an inspector has reasonable grounds for believing that a trade or business is being carried on from the dwelling-house and that the trade or business is not also being carried on from premises other than a dwelling-house.

(6)For the purposes of this section—

(a)a benefit claimant is a person who has claimed housing benefit or council tax benefit; and

(b)a benefit recipient is a person to whom housing benefit or council tax benefit has been paid.

(7)Persons are liable to supply information or produce documents under this section if they—

(a)occupy any premises liable to inspection under this section or are found by an inspector in any such premises;

(b)are believed by an inspector to be benefit claimants or benefit recipients;

(c)are believed by an inspector to hold or have access to information or documents relating to a person within paragraph (b) above; or

(d)are employees or agents of a person within any of paragraphs (a) to (c) above.

(8)An authority administering housing benefit or council tax benefit may make arrangements for any power under this section which may be exercised in relation to any premises to be exercised—

(a)by any inspector appointed by, or an officer of, the authority if the premises are liable to be inspected by that inspector or officer or are under the control of the authority; or

(b)by any inspector appointed by, or an officer of, a government department or another local or other authority if the premises are liable to be inspected by that inspector or officer or are under the control of that department or authority.

(9)In this section—

  • “inspector” means (except in subsection (8) above) an inspector appointed under section 110A above; and

  • “document” means anything in which information of any description is recorded.

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