Fixed penalty notices - code of conduct

Non-payment of the penalty notice

Non-payment of a fixed term penalty notice is not in itself an offence. The fixed penalty notice is issued as an alternative to bringing a prosecution in the magistrates' court for the offence set out in the Formal Warning letter. However, if the offer of dealing with the offence as a fixed penalty matter is not taken up by payment of the sum due within the 28-day period then consideration will be given to issuing criminal proceedings against the parent in the magistrates' court for the non­attendance of their child.

If a fixed penalty notice has not been paid after 28 days from the day it is taken to be served then the LA will contact the school or police officer who made the application for the penalty notice to be issued. They will discuss with them the available evidence to bring proceedings in the magistrates' court for the alleged offence under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996 or Section 103 of the Education and Inspection Act 2006.

If the LA believes that prosecution is a viable option, then a request will be made that the school or police officer concerned submits a report to the Local Authority's Legal Panel.  This will enable a formal decision to be taken as to whether to proceed with the matter by issuing criminal proceedings before the magistrates' court.

Prosecution of offences is a matter within the discretion of the local authority. A decision will be taken in line with the LA prosecution policy for these matters. Proceedings, where commenced, will be issued by the LA.

If a prosecution is brought and the parent is found guilty or pleads guilty then a conviction for an offence under the following both carry a fine of up to a maximum of £1000:

  •  Section 444(1) of the Education Act
  • Section 103 of the Education and inspection Act 2006

In addition the LA will seek to recover costs in respect of bringing the proceedings. Further, a successful prosecution will result in a parent having a criminal record. This could be disclosed should they apply for a position where a DBS check (formerly known as a CRB Criminal Records Bureau Check) is required.