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Crime news: avoiding errors in claims for crime lower work

Checklist of errors to help you avoid the pitfalls of inaccurate claims.

Below are some common errors that are made when providers submit claims for crime lower work.

Avoiding these errors will prevent the risk of money being recovered and of possible sanctions under the contract.

Investigations

Incorrectly claiming for:

  1. multiple police station attendance for the same client (code INVCs)
  2. advice and assistance away from the police station along with police station attendance for the same matter (code INVA and INVC)
  3. police station telephone advice along with police station attendance for the same matter (code INVB and INVC)
  4. mileage from another office or that of an agent – the maximum fee principle

Proceedings

  1. claiming for the wrong category of work
  2. using the incorrect fee rates on claims
  3. claiming a higher standard fee when this is not supported by work evidenced on file

Court duty claims

This is for travel and expenses claimed on business days in excess of eight hours and includes incorrectly claiming for:

  1. mileage from another office or that of an agent – the maximum fee principle
  2. fees using old rates when new rates should be used

Prison law

It is important that the client’s eligibility is clear. Errors include:

  1. multiple claims made incorrectly on sentence cases
  2. examples where Parole Board and discipline cases are not in scope
  3. claiming a higher standard fee when this is not supported by work evidenced on file
  4. profile of claims not in line with expectations following the scope changes introduced in Dec 2013 which we expected to result in a decrease in prison law claims
  5. need for evidence on file that the Parole Board has power to release
  6. need for evidence on file that a disciplinary matter was held before an Independent Adjudicator
  7. sometimes not clear why matter conducted under prison law rather than Associated Civil Work

Appeals and reviews

It is important that the client’s eligibility is clear. Errors include:

  1. insufficient evidence to demonstrate ‘sufficient benefit’ test met
  2. unusual claiming activity after the Legal Aid Transformation changes
  3. travel claimed not adequately supported on file
  4. insufficient evidence on file to justify costs claimed

Further information

Legal Aid Agency audits – for more on how to prevent audit issues and to download ‘LAA controlled work audit trends’ for common errors